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CAPTAIN KYD ;
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THE WIZARD OF THE SEA.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
THE SOUTHWEST," " LAFITTE," " BURTON," &c.
" There's many a one who oft has heard
The name of Robert Kyd,
Who cannot tell, perhaps, a word
Of him, or what he did.
" So, though I never saw the man,
And lived not in his day,
I'll tell you how his guilt began
To what it led the way."
H. F. GOULD.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
HARPER & BROTHERS, 82 CLIFF-STREET.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838,
By HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.
THE AUTHOR OF THE
"WINTER IN THE WEST,"
CHARLES FENNO HOFFMAN, ESQ.,
THESE VOLUMES ARE,
WITH SENTIMENTS OF ESTEEM,
PRE FA C E.
THE following dramatic romance consists of two
acts, with an interval of five years between them.
The time and action of the first part, the scene of
which is placed in the south of Ireland, are com
prised in something less than three days ; that of
the second, the scenes of which are laid in New-
York Bay and on its adjacent shores, embraces a
somewhat longer space of time, the two comprising
the most prominent crises of the hero's life one
giving the colouring to the whole of his subsequent
career, which in the other is brought to its close.
Natchez, Miss., Jan., 1839.
B O O K I
" A lady should not scorn
One soul that loves her, howe'er lowly it be."
" 'Twere idle to remember now,
Had I the heart, my thwarted schemes.
I bear beneath this alter'd brow
The ashes of a thousand dreams
Some wrought of wild Ambition's fingers,
Some colour'd of Love's pencil well
Ambition has but foil'd my grasp,
And Love has perish'd in my clasp."
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA.
" Oh, bold Robin Hood
Was a forester good
As ever drew bow in the merry green wood ,
And what eye hath e'er seen
Such a sweet maiden queen
As Marian the pride of the forester's green."
ON a rocky headland that stretches boldly out
into the bosom of one of the lakelike bays that in
dent the southern shore of Ireland, stands a pictu
resque ruin, half hidden to the eye of the voyager
amid a group of old trees. With its solitary square
tower, and warlike battlements jagged and stern in
their desolation, it still wears an air of imposing
grandeur, that conveys some idea of its ancient
baronial state. It is known by the name of " old
Castle Cor ;" and in its palmy days was the summer
abode of the last Earl of Bellamont.
On a bright morning in the merry month of May,
in the year sixteen hundred and ninety-four, its now
silent halls rung with the joyous voices and noisy
sports of a score of gallant youths and noble maid
ens, gathered there, from many a lordly roof both
10 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
far and near, to celebrate a rural fete in honour of
the sixteenth birthday of the only child of this an
cient house, the beautiful Kate Bellamont, better
known throughout the barony as " wild Kate of
Castle Cor." In the pastimes of the day, archery,
then much practised by ladies of gentle blood, was
to hold a conspicuous place, and a silver arrow was
to be awarded to the victor by the hands of Lady
Bellamont herself. As the hour of noon approach
ed, the earl's chief forester, Cormac Dermot, his
gray locks covered with a red cloth bonnet, in
which was fastened an eagle's plume, and his goodly
person arrayed in a holyday suit of green and gold,
made his appearance on the lawn by the west side
of the castle, and wound his horn, loud and long,
as the signal that the " gentle sporte of archerie"
was now about to begin.
The place chosen for the trial of skill was an
ample lawn of the softest and greenest verdure,
lying between the wall of the castle and the verge
of the cliff. A few ancient oaks grew here and
there upon it ; and towards the south it was open
to the land-locked bay and far-distant sea, which,
wide as the vision extended, seemed to belt the
horizon like a shining band of silver. At each
extremity of the field, one hundred yards apart,
was pitched upon the sward a gorgeous pavilion,
one of blue, the other of orange-coloured silk : the
hangings of the former were fringed with silver;
and from the festooned curtains of the latter pended
tassels of silk and gold. In these were laid tables
spread with cloths of crimson damask, and covered
with every luxury that could tempt the palate
or gratify the eye. From the summit of one of
the pavilions fluttered a crimson banneret, display
ing the arms of Bellamont, its boar's-head crest
pierced through with an arrow, emblematical of the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 11
occasion ; and from the top of the other waved a
white banner, in the centre of which, according to
the rules of heraldry, a bow, quiver, target and
other signs of archery were tastefully emblazoned.
Twenty-five yards in front of each pavilion, two
targets were placed, fifty yards apart, so that, after
sending all their arrows at one, the archers might
walk up to it and gather them, and, taking their
stand by it, shoot back to the other ; thus alternately
reversing the direction of their shots, and adding
healthful exercise to their graceful pastime. The
targets were both very beautiful, and gay with
colours ; being round wooden shields half an inch
in thickness and three feet in diameter, with four
circles painted on the faces : the outer white, with
a green border ; the next black ; the next within
it orange ; and the inner circle red, encompassing
a gold centre. They were elevated, at a slight
angle, twenty inches from the ground, on a light
frame resembling a painter's easel.
Midway between the targets, but safely placed
several paces back from the erratic path of the
arrows, was erected beneath an ancient linden-tree
a sylvan throne, surmounted by a canopy of silk,
elaborately worked with the needle to represent
Diana, with her nymphs and hounds, pursuing a
herd of deer with flights of arrows. This was the
seat of the umpire of the sports Katrine, the
lovely Countess of Bellamont. Altogether, it was
an imposing and gorgeous scene ; and, with its stern
castle rising boldly from the verdant lawn topped
with battlements and towers ; with its boundary
on the north side, of green, dark old woods, and the
calm, deep bay beneath, with a yacht sleeping on its
bosom ; with its extended prospect of the illim
itable sea for-ever breathing with a mysterious life,
the field of archery at Castle Cor, for ihe natural
12 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
beauty of the spot and the taste displayed in its
adornment, has doubtless had no parallel in the
annals of archery.
Scarcely had the echoes of old Cormac's horn
died away in the forest, startling many a stately
stag to flight, when the castle poured forth its gay
throng of archers towards the lists. In their midst
was the Countess of Bellamont, escorted by a body
guard of young archeresses. She was then in the
prime and beauty of ripe womanhood : at that
delightful age when the wife and mother, all the
charms of mind and person fully developed and re
fined by taste and elegant culture, fascinates by a
thousand nameless graces, and captivates and en
slaves even the youthful crowd that sigh at the feet
of her lovely daughter of seventeen the age that
leaves one in doubt whether beautiful women ar
rive at the zenith of their beauty and power under
This was the age of Katrine of Bellamont ; and
though at eighteen (when she became a bride) the
loveliest of all Irish maidens either of gentle or
lowly birth, yet now, as the Countess of Bella
mont, far-famed for her rare and stately beauty.
She was arrayed in a simple white robe ; and a
laced jacket of royal-purple velvet closely fitted
her magnificent bust. When she entered the field
she was conducted by her juvenile escort to the
throne, on which she seated herself, and with a play
fully assumed queenly dignity that became her
highborn air. A coronet of pearls graced her brow ;
and her symmetrical hand, that rivalled pearls in
its soft transparency, gracefully held, like a sceptre,
the miniature arrow which was to be the prize for
excelling in archery. Her deep blue eyes, as she
looked around, reflected, in a thousand smiling
beams, the joy that danced on each youthful face,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA* 13
and the sunny light of her own countenance com
municated sunshine of the heart wherever it fell.
On each side of the throne stood a wellborn youth
habited as a page, and behind her were stationed
two beautiful young girls attired as sylphides. On
her right hand, a few feet in the rear, leaning on a
yew bow six feet in length, stood Cormac Dermot,
his stag's horn, richly inlaid and curiously carved
with woodland devices, slung beneath his left shoul
der, with the mouthpiece brought round in front
ready for use. A little farther beyond, and nearer
the castle-wall, was assembled a group of lower de
gree, consisting of under-foresters, retainers of the
household, and neighbouring peasants ; while on
the opposite side of the lawn might be seen, relieved
against the sky, the forms of two or three fisher
men, whom curiosity had led to climb the dizzy
precipice from the beach far along the white line
of which were visible their scattered huts, looking
like black specks upon the sand.
All was now animation with the preparations
for the lists. From bundles of bows thrown by
Dermot on the ground before each pavilion, the
youths began busily to select weapons for the
fair archers, who were themselves earnestly en
gaged in choosing arrows from quivers that were
hung on the front of the tent ; fastening braces of
thick fawn's leather on their left or bow arm just
above the wrist to preserve it from injury by the
rebound of the bow-string; and drawing on the
right hand, from parcels handed them by pages,
shooting-gloves, with three finger-stalls, fitted with
a strap and button to fasten at the wrist, to pro
tect their fingers in drawing the arrow. Besides
these appendages of archery, each archeress wore
a belt buckled about the waist, to which pended a
tassel of the softest floss of Brussels, to wipe away
14 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
the soil that adhered to the arrows when drawn
from the ground ; and also an ivory box with a metal
lid, containing a perfumed paste for anointing the
finger-stalls of the shooting-gloves and the brace
on the arm, that the bow-string might the more
easily quit the fingers and pass over the guarded
wrist. A small pouch, either of tortoise-shell or
of silver, in shape and dimensions like a sportsman's
cup or a dicebox, was suspended on the right side
to receive two or three arrows ; the more cumber
some quiver, while in target-shooting, being left on
the ground near at hand, filled with shafts to re
place those broken or lost.
The party of archeresses consisted of seven fair
girls, the eldest scarce seventeen. They were fanci
fully attired, some in green, and others in orange or
blue hunting-jackets, after the tasteful fashion of the
period ; a costume admirably calculated to display
their sylphan shapes. They all wore hats of the col
our of their spencers, looped up in front, and orna
mented with waves of snowy plumes. Long white
trains descended from their waists to the ground,
but, in shooting, were gathered beneath the belt on
the left side, and, thence falling down again to the
feet in numerous folds, added to the grace and pictu-
resqueness of their appearance. Each archeress
was attended by a favoured youth as an esquire,
habited in a green or gray hunting-frock, bordered
with a wreath of embroidered oak-leaves, with an
arrow worked in silver thread on each lappel.
They wore broad flapping hats, turned boldly back
from the forehead, and shaded in front with a droop
ing black plume. Each carried a short hunting-
spear, decked with ribands of the colour of his mis
tress' jacket, gifts from her own hand and tied there
on with her own fingers, in token that she acknowl
edged him as her " Esquire of the Bow." The duty
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 15
of these youthful cavaliers was to select a bow suited
to the strength of the archeress whose colours they
wore ; to fit it with an arrow of a weight proportioned
to its power, having a nock exactly receiving the
string ; to assist, if the lady is unskilled, in string
ing the bow ; to draw the arrows from the butt, or
collect the far-shot shafts and return them to the
owner ; and otherwise, as courtesy and gallantry
prompted, to do their duty as " esquires of arch-
Once more the sonorous horn of old Cormac
was heard winding, now high, now low, in a long,
wild strain, and then ending in three sharp blasts,
like the stirring notes of a bugle sounding to the
charge. Every archeress now had her brace buck
led on her arm, and her shooting-glove buttoned
about her wrist ; every one had two good arrows
in the pouch at her belt, and a third on the string;
and each fair girl, attended by her esquire, hasten
ed to the stand by the southernmost target at the
sound of the forester's horn save, in each instance,
Kate Bellamont ! Her brace would not buckle all
she could do ; her shooting-glove would not go on,
and three, that she had pulled off, were lying rent
at her feet ; and not an arrow was to be seen in
her tortoise-shell pouch, though half a dozen fair
ones lay about her on the ground ! It was very
plain that something was going wrong with the
maiden. Such a dilemma could not have hap
pened without a cause. The braces of the rest
buckled with ease ; their shooting-gloves fitted
beautifully ; and there had been time enough to fill
twenty pouches. Why, then, was Kate Bellamont
not ready ? Her brace, both strap and buckle, was
perfect ; and the wrist it was destined to compass
was not to be matched for its smallness of size !
The gloves, plainly were just what they should be !
16 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
Her companions had been fitted, and her hand was
the smallest as well as the fairest of the party ;
besides, there were a dozen pairs on the ground that
evidently were made for no other hand. The cause
could not lie in the arrows, for they were, to the
eye, without fault, and of every variety of shape
and fashion known to archery ; nor in her handsome
esquire, who, save when requested by some eager
girl to assist her, had been diligently serving her
with arrow after arrow, until he had emptied two
quivers, the contents of which now lay strewn
around. The cause is not to be found in either of
these. The truth is, Kate Bellamont was playing
with her little foot against the ground when sho
should have been trying on her glove. No sooner
was one pulled half way on than she suffered it to
remain so, drumming the while in a fit of absence
on the sward, while her eyes followed the motions
of her handsome esquire. The next moment, re
covering herself, she would tear it off impatiently,
and, with a laugh, fling it to the ground. She would
then take up another, and go through the same pro
cess, or play with her brace instead of buckling it ;
and when the young gentleman gave her an arrow,
without scarcely touching it to the bow-string she
threw it down, saying it was too heavy or too light,
too long or too short, had too much feather or had
not feather enough ; so that, when the rest of the
party were ready, Kate Bellamont was just where
ghe was at the outset, The result of all this, wheth
er brought about designedly or not by a little fe*
male manoeuvring, being a question to be solved by
such as are skilled in the ways and means by which
women work out their ends, was, that when the last
notes of Cormac's horn died away in the forest,
Kate Bellamont found herself and her esquire, the
noble and youthful heir of the broad lands of the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 17
earldom of Lester, left quite alone. The brace was
on her arm unbuckled, and she held a glove in her
" Lord Robert, do clasp this troublesome brace
for me. Strange you could not see what difficulty
I have had to get ready ! But I suppose you were
:; so engaged fitting an arrow to pretty Gracy Fitz
gerald's bow, that you had no eyes for any one
This was said half in pique, half laughingly;
and holding, with a pouting lip, her snowy arm to
wards her esquire as she spoke, he gallantly re
ceived it, and with the merest effort in the world
clasped the rebellious brace. But he did not re
lease her soft hand without giving it a slight pres
sure, and looking into her face with an eloquent
gaze, which she consciously met with eyes half
downcast, yet beaming through their long dark
lashes with a gentle fire that young love only could
" Now, Sir Esquire, fasten this glove."
The youth bent till the black plume of his bonnet
rested on her arm, and, with some difficulty ap
parently, for he was a very long time about it, suc
ceeded in buttoning the silken strap across the blue-
veined wrist ; nor did he lift his head from the fair
hand, which lay nestled like a bird in his beneath
the thick covert of his drooping featker, ere he had
touched it with his bold lip.
" Ha, Sir Forester, is this a part of your service
as squire of archery ?" she demanded, with the blood
mounting to her cheek in maidenly surprise ; though
the pouting smile on her mouth, which she vainly
tried to turn into a frown, and the dancing light in
her telltale eyes, betokened any thing besides resent
ment at the bold deed ; " I see I must resign you
to my sly little cousin Gracy, and take her well-
18 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
behaved esquire ; doubtless you better understand
her humour than you seem to do mine."
By the time she had ended she had succeeded in
calling up a small cloud on her brow, which strug
gled very hard to cast a shadow over the sunny light
that played around her lovely mouth and was re
flected back in a thousand rays from the deep wells
of her black, Castilian eyes.
" Forgive me, sweet Lady Kate," said the esquire,
dropping on one knee disguising his attitude to the
eyes of others by gathering carelessly one or two
arrows from the ground to her eyes alone a sup
pliant. The expression of his face amusingly wa
vered between playful mockery and seriousness, as
if greatly fearing, yet doubting much, that his daring
act had really given offence : a sort of neutral ground
between mirth and grief, with the advantage of en
abling him to fall readily into the one or the other,
as he should find the needle of her humour pointed.
" See, then, you offend not again, sir," she said,
laughing at the troubled expression of his serio
comic countenance. " Haste ! choose me an ar
row that tapers from the pile to the feather."
" One that tapers each way from the middle will
suit you better for shooting in this light wind," said
the young esquire, the puzzled play of his hand
some features changed to sunshine by her voice.
As he spoke he brought a quiver full of arrows and
poured them out at her feet, and, kneeling on the
thick verdure, selected an arrow of the kind he had
" No, no," she said, putting it aside ; " they al
ways curve from the line of sight ; and, besides, fly
" Not in a wind, Kate. The fulness in the mid
dle counteracts the weight of the ends, and drives
it more evenly."
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 19
" Do as you are bidden, Sir Esquire," she said.
" Don't think now you are going to have your own
way." A second arrow was placed in her hand
by the youth.
"Why, Lord Robert, what is the matter with
your wits ! This is an arrow of the same kind ;
and, besides, it is without a cock-feather. I shall
have to call yonder handsome fisher's lad, who is
watching me so admiringly, to my assistance."
The esquire, without looking up, mechanically
handed to her a third arrow, with the head broken
and the feathers ruffled. Without being able to
speak in her surprise, she looked quietly down and
beheld the young man so intently contemplating one
of her exquisite little feet, that twice she spoke to
him ere he looked up to encounter her gaze of arch
astonishment. It was very plain what had become
of her esquire's wits. The youth blushed, and has
tily rose to his feet ; but the maiden could not dis
guise a little female vanity, though she shook her
finger at him, and said mischievously,
" Do you propose becoming a cordwainer, and
making me a pair of slippers, Lord Robert, that you
are so busy taking the dimensions of my foot ?"
" I would willingly become apprentice to the
meanest cobbler, to be suffered to take the measure
of that tiny foot, and fit it with a shoe," said the
youth, with gallantry.
The maiden laughed, and, unwilling to betray
the feeling his words had created, said, "Do be
quick, Lord Robert ; my bow is not yet strung with
our foolish idling here, and I shall be too late for
As she spoke she grasped her bow firmly in the
middle, and extending her hand, containing the
string terminating with a loop, to the upper limb,
she pulled smartly upward, pressing the limb down-
20 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
ward at the same time with her left wrist, and skil
fully and accurately carried the eye of the bow
string into the nock. Her bow, like those of her
companions, was five feet in length, neatly made of
dark wood highly polished, and rounded on the in
ner side to increase its power in shooting.
" Well and featly done ! That's a tough yew, and
a man's strength could not have better done what
your little fingers, with skill to guide them, I have
just seen do. You were an apt pupil, young mis
tress, and do honour to old Dermot's lessons."
Kate Bellamont turned and saw the old forester
close at her side. " If I have any skill, good Cor-
mac," she said, " I do owe it all to your kind teach
ing ; and if I win the arrow this day, you shall have
it as a birthday gift from me, to wear in your bon
net instead of your pipe."
The forester lifted his bonnet with a gratified air,
mingled with respect, at this expression of kindness
from his lovely young mistress, and said,
" I know you would give Cormac, sweet lady,
even the fair white plume that graces your brow if
you thought it would gratify the old man. God
bless you, noble child ; may you live to see many
such bright birthdays as this !" The rough hunts
man brushed a tear from his eyes as he spoke ; for
the experience of years had told him that clouds
would obscure the bright sky of her young hopes,
and that each returning birthday might be but a sad
waymark to denote the slow passage of a life of
sorrow and trial. " The countess has bid me come
and see if you need my aid in fitting your shafts,
that you delay."
"No, no, Cormac," said the maiden, blushing;
but directly she cried, " Yes, you can help me. I
am undecided whether to shoot an arrow that tapers
from the head to the feathers, or from the feathers
to the head, or from the middle both ways "
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 21
"What says Master Robert?" asked Dermot,
smiling archly through one of his little gray eyes,
the other, from the long habit of shutting it in
shooting, having at last got to be so firmly closed
up in a radiating network of fine wrinkles as to
have been for the last ten years of his life invis
" Pshaw, Cormac !" she cried, stooping till her
snowy plumes shaded her burning cheek ; " I did
not ask Lord Robert, but you."
" I have advised Lady Kate, forester, to shoot
arrows that taper both to feather and pile," said the
" And she chooses "
" Those that taper from the pile to the feather,"
said the maiden, quickly
" If the distance were seventy yards instead of
fifty," said the forester, measuring the ground with
his eye, " it would be a good shaft for a steady
hand ; but, if you will let me decide, I would rec
ommend you to take the taper from the feather,
especially as the air is in motion."
" Your skill is at fault for once, old man," said
the young noble, with a flushed brow ; " the best
bowmen in England ay, Robin Hood himself,
were he here this day would teach you your craft
" You are in error, Master Robert," said the for
ester, with some warmth, in defence of his profes
sion ; " and he who taught you that a double taper
is better in a wind than "
" Hist, old graybeard ! you know nothing of
woodscraft ; yonder fisher's lad will even tell you a
shaft swelling in the middle will waver in its pas
sage through the wind like a weathercock."
" Nay, Master Robert "
" Speak again, old man, and I strike you !" said
22 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
the young noble, imperiously, angry that his skill
should be called in question ; feeling positive that he
alone was right, or else too proud to acknowledge
" For shame, Lester," cried Kate Bellamont, with
an indignant look ; " I did not think you were of so
overbearing and ungracious a temper ! Besides,"
she added, proudly, " I sought Cormac's opinion !
Strike an old man, and in a lady's presence ! Out
upon thy manhood, Robert. Ask Cormac's for
giveness, or never speak to me more."
" Pardon my hasty speech, Kate," he said, abash
ed by her look, and reproached by the cutting irony
of her words, approaching her as he spoke with an
air of deep mortification, " forgive "
"To Cormac, sir, not me."
"For Cormac, in atonement, I will send from
Castle More a fat buck, with this very arrow stick
ing in its heart ; but," he added, with haughty
fierceness, " I will ask no man's forgiveness. If I
have offended, I am ready to stand by my words."
" Marry come up ! we are like to have a letting
of blood here," said the maiden, between jest and
seriousness. "Will you be docile, Robert?"
" At your bidding, Kate, as a lamb."
" Very like a lamb. Forget it, Dermot. You
have made his pride a little sore to tell him, before
a lady, he knew not how to choose a shaft, and so
unfit to be an esquire of archery."
" Young blood will up," said the forester. " I
meant not to gainsay your skill, Master Robert, for
it's known to every bowman that no young hand in
the county can send a shaft farther or surer than
young Lord Robert of Castle More."
" That will do, Cormac. Now, Robert, see that
you henceforward take fire less readily ; and you,
good Dermot, refrain from wounding the esteem of
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 23
these young lords. Verily, it behooves me to look
to my own speech in such fiery company. Nay,
Robert," she added, laughing, " I have done. Give
me the shafts ; and, as we are to have three shots
apiece at the target, I will shoot one of each kind,
and be the prize his whose arrow wins ! Give me
them, Robert ! nay, don't press my fingers so hard ;
I don't want them in my hand, but in the pouch.
Go, Cormac, I am ready. I see my lady mother
is shaking her silver arrow at me already for loiter
ing here when I should be at the post."
The next moment she had joined the archers, and
the trial of skill forthwith commenced. The first
arrow that was shot was from the bow of a fair-
haired girl, in a blue hat and a silken bodice of the
same colour ; it flew wide of the mark, and quivered
in the trunk of a tree sixty yards off.
" There was nerve in that, Lady Eustace," said
old Cormac, who watched each shot with profes
sional interest ; " but you grasped the handle of your
bow too tightly, and so made your aim unsteady.
Hold your bow as lightly as you would a hunting-
whip. 'Tis not strength, but skill, that sends the
bolt into the eye of the butt."
The young archeress laughed at her failure, and
resigned her place to another, who was distinguish
ed by an orange-coloured spencer. This second
shot was more successful ; for, swiftly cleaving the
air, the arrow stuck in the orange circle.
" Bravo ! orange to orange !" was the cry that
on all sides hailed this appropriate hit.
The third shaft was still better directed; and,
hitting the red or inner circle, stuck there for a
moment trembling like an aspen-leaf, and then fell
to the ground.
" A brave bolt that ! a brave bolt that," said the
forester, " and drawn well to the head. But you
24 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
should have brought the nock of your arrow down
more towards your ear. The ear in shooting an
arrow; the eye in firing a pistol or harquebuss.
That shaft was a taper from the feather, Master
" Hush, Cormac," cried Kate Bellamont, quick
ly ; " would you get your gray beard into a broil.
Kobert, bring me my quiver," she said, as she saw
the young man's eye light up ; " one of my arrows,
the very one you gave me, has the cock-feather
awry ! Stay ! you need not bring the quiver, but
select a shaft for me yourself. I will keep it as my
forlorn hope, and mark me if it do not carry off the
prize." She sought his eyes and looked so be-
witchingly after a manner maidens have of their
own, that his brow coloured and his eyes beamed
with a different emotion, while, with a fluttering
heart, he went to do her bidding.
Oh, gentle and angelic woman ! ever ready to
calm the ruffled brow with words of peace ! to bring
good out of evil ! to step between fierce man and
his reinless passions ! with an eye to sooth, a
voice to disarm, a smile to win ! Blessings on
thee, woman ! whether in thy happy and innocent
girlhood, or fair and gentle maidenhood ; whether
maid or matron, young or old, lovely or homely !
Blessings on thee, sweet leaven of humanity ! yet
partaking so much of the heavenly nature, that
the sons of the gods, we are told, were lured from
their celestial thrones to cast their crowns at thy
' A fourth arrow hit the black circle ; and the
fifth, sent from the bow of a tall, graceful girl, struck
on the outer edge of the target and splintered it,
while the bow itself snapped in two in her hand.
" What a mischievous shot, Fanny," cried Lady
Bellamont, smiling ; " if by-and-by you launch Cu-
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 25
pid's shafts at your lovers' hearts in that way, you
will make sad havoc."
" It was all, your ladyship, of placing the short
limb of the bow uppermost. Hugh Conor must be
getting old that he teacheth not his pupil better
to handle the bow," said old Cormac, shaking his
snowy locks as the next archeress, a sylph-like lit
tle being, about fifteen, with dangerous hazel eyes ;
rich chestnut-coloured hair, that flowed in curls all
over her shoulders ; a voice like some merry bird's,
and a wild, joyous spirit lighting up like a sun
beam her whole countenance, took her place at the
"Now, cousin Gracy, do be steady !" cried Kate
Bellamont ; " take heed ! you will shoot my esquire
through the heart if you handle your bow so care
" And then you would shoot me through the
head in return, I dare say."
The laughing girl bounded to the stand as she
spoke, carelessly drew her arrow to the head, and,
ere she had well taken aim, away it flew, and passed
through the centre of the emblazoned target waving
on the summit of the pavilion, and continued its
wild flight into the wood beyond.
" Bravo, cousin Gracy ! you have won the silver
arrow," cried Kate Bellamont. " Lord Robert, I
wonder if that was the arrow you chose for Lady
Grace. A taper both ways, or .I'll forfeit my jen
" Who makes the broil now, young mistress ?"
asked the old forester, with a glance of humour.
" You and I, worthy Cormac, are two very dif
ferent people where a young gentleman is con
cerned," said the maiden, laughing.
The forester shook his head incredulously, and,
turning to Grace Fitzgerald, said, " Faith, but it was
VOL. I. C
26 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
a brave shot that, my young lady ! You have done
what old Dermot could not have done at a target,
playing in the wind like that. But, with the leave
of my lady the queen, you must have a second
shot at the real target. Take this arrow, that tapers
from the feather to the pile ; fit it to your bow
string exactly at the spot where it is wound round
with silk ; and, if you will follow my directions, I
will teach you to strike the centre of the true butt,
or never draw arrow to head again." Leave being
granted by acclamation, the archeress merrily re
sumed her attitude and prepared to follow his in
" Hold the bow easily in your hand. Throw
your head back a little. That will do. Now keep
your bow-arm straightened, and bend the wrist of
your gloved hand inward. Now raise your bow,
steadily drawing the arrow at the same time not to
wards your eye, but towards your ear. Be steady !
When it is three parts drawn, take your aim at the
centre. Keep the head of the arrow a little to the
right of the mark. Be cool, and, if you are sure of
your aim, draw the arrow quickly and steadily to
the head, and gently part your fingers and let it go !"
The shaft, loosened from the string, cut the air
and buried itself in the very centre of the golden
eye of the target. A shout from every part of the
field acknowledged the success of the quick pupil,
and bore testimony to the skill of the experienced
" It is Cormac's shot, not mine," said the archer-
ess ; " I am satisfied with piercing the glittering
centre of yonder escutcheon."
" The queen shall decide," cried several of the
party, turning towards the throne where sat the
lovely countess, amid her youthful attendants, par
ticipating with girlish interest in the scene, and
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 27
prepared to decide all appeals to her royal um-
" Gracy is right. Corrnac's skill directed the
shaft. She has no honest claim to the honour of
the hit, save the credit of having stood quiet longer
than she was ever known to before ! The banner
with its perforated target she is justly entitled to;
and," added the countess, with a smile, "I here
award it to her."
" And if I ever get a husband he shall carry it
before him into battle," said the merry sylph.
" Now, divine Kate, see that you don't wound my
arrow. I would not have it injured for a silver one."
" It tapers from the middle in each direction, I
have no doubt," said Kate, archly, glancing mis
chievously towards her esquire as she prepared to
take her place at the stand.
"Your speech tapers in both directions, wild
Kate," retorted the other, blushing. " I wonder
what you and Lord Robert could have been doing,
that you loitered so long about the pavilion ! There,
I declare, if you are not holding your bow with the
short limb uppermost !"
Kate blushed in her turn, and reversed it.
"Why, cousin Kate Bellamont, you are going
to shoot with the feather towards the target !" cried
the tantalizing little maiden. " Really, I do begin
to wonder what you and Lester could have been
about, that the mention of it scatters your wits and
makes you look so very foolish !"
Kate shook her head with a playful menace at
her tormentor, placed her arrow with the right end
to the bow-string, and took her stand by the target.
The instant she fixed her eyes on it her self-pos
session returned, and, elevating her bow, she threw
herself with careless grace into the attitude of an
28 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
A more beautiful object than this young creature,
standing in the strikingly spirited attitude she had
assumed, can hardly be imagined. Though but
sixteen, her form was divinely perfect. Every
limb foot, hand, and arm was a rare model for
the sculptor's chisel. The undulating outline of
her shoulders was faultless ; and her figure, per
haps, was the more beautiful that her bust and
waist, and the wavy symmetry of her whole per
son, was just receiving that harmony of touch
and roundness of finish which marks the era when
the wild romping girl is merging into the blushing,
conscious, loving, and loveable maiden of seven
teen. Descended from an ancient Milesian family,
she betrayed her origin in her complexion, which
was a rich brunette, reflecting in warm, sunny tints
the mantling blood, which came and went at every
emotion. Her eyes were dark and sparkling as
night with its stars, and as, with a slightly bent
brow, she fixed them on the target, they had a cool
and steady expression remarkable in one of her
years and sex. She wore a dark ruby velvet jacket,
laced over a stomacher rich with brilliants, and a
velvet hat of the same dark ruby, surmounted by a
plume of white ostrich feathers, in that day a rare
and costly ornament, which gracefully drooped
about her head in striking contrast with her raven
locks that floated around her superb neck in the
wildest freedom. Her lips, like most of the lips of
Erin's fair maidens, were of a rich coral red, and,
just parted as she took sight, rendered visible a
pearly line of beautifully-arranged teeth. Her
mouth, when closed, was finely shaped, and some
times wore an air of decision, that did not, however,
in any way diminish its witchery. The glow of
health, and the pride of birth and beauty, were upon
her countenance, and every feminine grace and
charm seemed to play around her.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 29
As she stood with one foot a little advanced, her
neck slightly curved to bring her eyes down to a
level with the mark, her left side, but no part of
the front of the body, accurately turned towards the
target, the eyes of old Corrnac Dermot glistened
with pride. Slowly she elevated the bow, drawing
the arrow simultaneously towards the ear with the
first three gloved fingers of her right hand, till she
had drawn it out three quarters of its length, when,
pausing till she had filled her eye with the golden
eye of the target, she drew it smartly to its head
and let it loose from her fingers. For an instant
she stood following its swift flight : the pupils of
her dark eyes dilated and eager ; her lips closely
shut ; her chest advanced ; her right arm elevated
and curved above her shoulders, the wrist bent, and
the fingers of the hand turned gently downward ;
the left arm extended at full length, and grasping
the relaxed bow ; her neck curved ; her spirited
head thrown back, and her whole action animated
and commanding ; presenting altogether, perhaps,
the most graceful attitude the female form is sus
ceptible of assuming.
The arrow was sent with unerring aim, struck
the golden eye within half an inch of Grace Fitz
gerald's, and buried itself to its feather. The lawn
rung with the plaudits of both archeresses and
esquires ; and even the retainers and fishermen,
who were humble but curious spectators of the
sports, gave vent to their admiration in shouts of
clamorous applause. Old Cormac swung his long
yew bow above his head with delight, and looked
as if, in the pride of the moment, he would have
hugged his accomplished pupil to his heart.
" Do not be so elated, good Dermot," she said,
laughing ; " it was the arrow I chose a taper from
30 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
" The more skill in the hand that drove it so
truly," said the forester.
" I must do still better than this, else neither you
nor Lord Robert, who, methinks, looks somewhat
blank to find I have not missed to gratify him, will
neither of you get the prize."
" It was not a fair trial, Kate," said the esquire,
gayly; "the wind has lulled; and, as you drew
your bow, there was not a breath of air."
" If, nevertheless, that had been a taper from the
feather," said the forester, after surveying the target
earnestly for a moment, as obstinately bent on ad
hering to his original opinion as even the spirited
young noble himself, "it would have cleft the ar
row. of Lady Gracy through its length to the pile."
" We will see to that anon, worthy Cormac. I
have two shots more. Here is the arrow you
chose for me, which I will fit to my bow-string, and
do my best to drive it through my cousin's."
" I dare say you will if you can, and would like,
also, to destroy everything else Lord Robert gives
me," said the roguish Grace, putting up her lip and
tossing her head, with its cloud of rich hair, in
admirably affected pique.
The young esquire of Kate Bellamont looked
embarrassed ; Kate laughed and drummed on the
ground with her foot, while the whole party began
forthwith to prepare for the next round. The cus
tomary mode of ascertaining the value of the hits
in archery, by estimating it in proportion to their
distance from the centre, was departed from in the
present instance. By the method alluded to, a hit
in the gold counts nine ; in the red, three ; in the
orange, two ; in the black, one ; and their sum is
the value of the hits : a process which makes three
hits in the red circle of the same value, or nearly
so, of one in the gold. In the present case, the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 31
shots were limited to three, and the prize awarded
to the greatest number of hits in the gold.
In the second round, the first three arrows struck
three different circles ; and one well-directed shaft,
shot by the archeress who had before broken her
bow, hit the gold, though at its junction with the
red. Grace Fitzgerald bent her bow without aim,
but the courteous arrow went accurately to the
mark, and struck within a finger's breadth of the
centre, much to the delight of Cormac, the forester,
who took himself all the credit of the fair shot.
Kate, with the arrow given her by Cormac fitted
to her bow-string, took somewhat less careful aim
than with her first shot, and was about to loose the
arrow, when a hawk, bearing a live fish in his tal
ons, soared above the cliff, and with swift wing
flew high across the lawn in the direction of the
forest. Quicker than thought, the point of the ar
row was elevated from the target into the air,
drawn to its head with a stronger arm and more
resolute eye, and launched from the bow-string.
With irresistible force and unerring aim, it cleft
the air and struck the proud bird of prey beneath
the wing. He uttered a wild cry, flew heavily a
few feet perpendicularly upward, and then, whirling
round and round in concentric circles, each gyration
bringing him nearer the earth, fell, transfixed with
the arrow, among the fishermen : fluttering wildly
on the ground in agony, he succeeded, before they
could secure him, in flapping himself over the
precipice. He was instantly followed by a daring
young fisherman, who had been endeavouring to
capture him the same youth whose admiration of
her had before attracted the notice of Kate Bella-
For a moment the generous heart of the fair
archer shrunk from the wreck she had made, and
32 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
she turned away her head from the dying struggles
of the dark bandit of the air. But maidens of that
period were too familiar with the more revolting
scenes of the chase to show emotion at witnessing
the death of a hawk ; and, therefore, sympathy for
the fate of the victim of her skill gave place to the
pride of the successful archer.
"There is a prize for you, Cormac, better than
a golden arrow," she said, with a flashing eye ;
" and, when next I go a hawking," she archly added,
" I will be sure to use arrows that taper from the
The third and final round now followed. Each
archeress had shot her last arrow save Kate Bel-
lamont, yet but three arrows besides her own and
the equivocal shot of Grace Fitzgerald were in the
centre, and these from as many different bows.
Grace had made a wilder shot even than her first;
for her arrow, jeopardizing the lives of the poor fish
ermen, flew far over the cliff out of sight. Four of
the companions of Kate had, equally with herself,
each an arrow in the gold ; but as she had yet to
shoot her third arrow, she had yet a chance of
making a second hit and winning the prize. Glan
cing with proud consciousness of her own skill
towards her young esquire, she drew her remain
ing arrow through her fingers, carefully examining
each one of its three feathers, and fitted it accu
rately to the bow-string ; then elevating her bow,
she steadily drew the arrow. All was breathless
expectation. The old archer looked on as if he
would not grievp if for once his pupil should miss ;
while her young esquire watched her with the anx
iety of one who felt that his judgment and skill in
the noble science of archery were at stake. As
she was ready to loose the arrow, the wind, which
had hitherto gently fanned her cheek, increased
suddenly to a strong breeze, lifting the hair from
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 33
her brow and tossing her tresses in wild confusion
about her neck. The eyes of Cormac lighted up
with triumph, while Lord Robert himself curled
his lip scornfully and smiled with confidence. The
archeress, who had dropped the point of the arrow
with a misgiving, remembering what Cormac had
said of it as ill adapted to a wind, on catching the
confident eye of her esquire again raised the bow,
and coolly and steadily drew the shaft to its head.
Every eye followed it in its swift course, and saw
it strike the arrow of Grace Fitzgerald on the end,
shiver it to its pile, and drive itself through the
target to the feather. A general exclamation of
surprise and admiration bore testimony to the skill
of the victor ; the dark eyes of the young esquire
sparkled with triumph, while the discomfited Der-
mot said, with a broad laugh of good-humour,
"Well, Master Robert, it's your time to boast
now. By the boar's head o' Castle Cor! I shall
never hear the end of your double taper. Faith,
masters, no hand but my young Lady Kate's could
have sent a double taper with such an aim and in
this wind, which young Lord Robert there has got
old Elpsy to set a blowing to triumph over the old
man's skill. Well a-day ! What the gray-headed
forester said of it is true, nevertheless ; but when
such a hand and eye as Lady Kate's sends the
bolt to the butt, there is no depending on old rules ;
especially," he added, laughing, "with a witch's
wind to carry the arrow to its centre."
The young noble frowned darkly on the speaker,
and joined not in the laugh of his companions.
Lady Bellamont now commanded Cormac to sound
his horn three times, and bid, in the name of the
queen of archery, the band of archeresses, with their
esquires, who were hastening towards the target to
34 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
collect their arrows, to approach the throne, and
witness the award of the prize to the victor.
Amid the congratulations and applauses of the
whole field, for, unenvious, each light-hearted girl
seemed to share the triumph of the accomplished
archeress, the victoress advanced to the rustic foot
stool of the throne, and gracefully knelt to receive,
from the hand of the beautiful queen of the sports,
the glittering prize a finely-wrought arrow of sil
ver, five inches in lengh, with a chased gold head,
on which was graven, in small Gothic characters,
these words :
" JFfeia of SlrcDerj, Castle <Eor, $Hzs,
" Victorious archeress," said the queen, rising,
her face beaming with maternal love and pride, and
extending her arm containing the prize, "receive
this fair token of your matchless skill, so well dis
played this day. May you in every other female
accomplishment, my sweet Kate, be as successful
as in archery."
" She'll be a match for poor little Cupid, with
his tiny bow and arrow, I dare say," said Grace
Fitzgerald, with a roguish eye. " Poor youth !"
she continued, glancing significantly towards the
handsome Lord Robert, who stood at the right hand
of the victress, " I pity him if he's like to have such
a hole made in his heart as Kate has made in
This sally of the sprightly maiden was merrily
received by all the youthful circle save the con
scious two who were its subjects. The lovely
countess now left the throne, embraced and kissed
her noble Kate, whom her companions, gathering
around her, playfully forced into the vacant seat.
She was about to bound from it again, when she
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 35
checked the impulse, reseated herself, and bade her
esquire advance and kneel before her. The gallant
youth obeyed ; when, bending gracefully forward,
she fastened the silver arrow in the loop of his
bonnet, and bade him wear it on every return of
that day in memory of the field of archery at Castle
The noble youth accepted the gift, won by the
arrow he had chosen, with the same playful, half-
serious spirit in which it was bestowed, and then
kissed the fair hand that presented it with at least
full as much passion as gallantry. Amid the merry
sallies, especially from Grace Fitzgerald, this scene
created, the whole party of archers bounded away
like a troop of wild deer towards the target, to
ascertain more accurately the nature, of the several
hits, while the countess, at a more dignified pace,
attended by the forester, returned to the castle to
prepare for the further entertainments of the day.
But the fleetest of foot among the youthful bevy of
fair girls had not measured half the green space
between the linden-tree and bristling target, when
a thrilling outcry of terror from a fisherman on the
cliff, who wildly waved his arms to some one below,
and the next moment clasped his hands together in
despair, checked them in mid career; and, with
hearts palpitating with vague apprehensions of
danger, they flew to the precipice to ascertain the
cause of this sudden alarm.
36 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" From crag to crag descending swiftly sped
Stern Conrad down, nor once he turned his head ;
He bounds, he flies, until his footsteps reach
The verge where ends the cliff, begins the beach."
" Dark was the flow of Oscar's hair,
But Allan's locks were bright and fair."
Oscar of Alva.
" But who is he, whose darken'd brow
Glooms in the midst of general mirth ?"
WHEN the hawk, which had been so skilfully
struck by the arrow of Kate Bellamont, flapped
himself, in his violent death-throes, over the edge
of the cliff, a gallant young fisher's lad, seeing him
lodge in the topmost branches of a blasted tree
twenty feet below, fearlessly flung himself off the
precipice, and lighted, by the aid of a limb, on
a projecting rock within twelve feet of him. The
cliff at this place was one hundred and forty feet
in height, and, except where its surface was opened
by narrow crevices, in which a few shrubs and
dwarf cedars found precarious roothold, or where
a fragment, hurled from its seat by the lightning,
or fallen through age into the sea, left a narrow
shelf, it presented to the passing boatman on the
bay below a naked and gigantic wall, of nearly
perpendicular ascent and inaccessible to human
foot: indeed, from a midway brow seventy feet
from the base, it receded, leaving a sheer descent
of that space from the water, which lay black, still,
and of profound depth beneath. Near the top of
the cliff grew a scathed cedar, clinging with its
hardy roots into a cleft in its face, and leaning
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 37
threateningly over the flood. Its top reached within
twenty feet of the summit of the precipice ; but, in
clining at an angle away from it, stood full seven
feet out from its side. It was the ragged arms of
this tree which caught the hawk in his descent,
and where, with fierce cries of rage and pain, he
struggled to free himself from the fatal shaft, but
which he drove deeper and deeper into his side
with every beat of his strong wing.
The young man paused after lighting upon the
first landing-place, and measured with a cool glance
the dizzy descent ; and then fixed his gaze on the
bird, whose blood-red eyes flashed forth vindictive
fire as they met his, with a resolute look that con
veyed a determination to capture him at whatever
risk. The pliant limb of a tree growing on the
summit, by which he had let himself down to the
place where he stood, had, on being released, sprung
back to its natural position far beyond his reach :
the surface of rock, eight feet in height above him,
was as even as a wall of masonry ; and an upward
glance satisfied him that, without assistance from
those above, to reascend again would be impossible.
Quietly smiling at the difficulty in which he had
involved himself, the fearless lad placed his eyes
again on the hawk with the confident and resolute,
and almost stern, expression they had before borne,
and began to examine narrowly his position, and to
look about for some safe way of descending to a
perilous spur, the breadth of a man's two hands,
which, on peering down, he discovered projecting
from the side of the rock on a level with the top of
the tree. Whether governed solely by that pride
of spirit which is found in most youths of high-
toned feelings, he internally resolved to accomplish
what he had thoughtlessly undertaken ; whether
actuated by the spirit of adventure, or whether
VOL. I. D
38 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
fascinated by the beauty of Kate Bellamor.*', he
wished to preserve the proud bird as a trophy of
her skill ; whether one or all of these motives in
fluenced the daring fisher's lad, remains to be un
The spot on which he stood was the projecting
edge of the second stratum of rock, twenty inches
wide, running irregularly along the face of the preci
pice, and appeared to have been formed by the fall
ing away of large chips or flakes from the upper and
softer stratum. From this rim there ran a zigzag
crevice, an inch wide, obliquely downward along
the rock to the shelf below, on which grew a hand
ful of long grass and two or three slender shrubs.
On a level with it was the top of the tree ; under
neath, thirty feet below, were visible its gnarled
roots clinging to a mere lip of the rock, yet vig
orously inserting themselves in the neighbouring
crevices ; farther down, on the edge of the brow
where the cliff began to incline inward, was visible
yet one more foothold, scarcely a palm in breadth ;
below that, the shrinking eye measured a dizzy
vacancy till it fell upon the still, pool-like bay be
The youth surveyed these features of the danger
ous precipice with a steady eye ; and having coolly
calculated his chance of accomplishing safely the
descent of the twelve feet below him, sat down
with his legs hanging over, and deliberately drew
off his stout fisher's boots and hung them on a twig
beside him. Then turning round, he carefully slid
off and suspended his body an instant by his right
hand, till he had firmly inserted the tip of one foot
and the fingers of the other hand in the zigzag
crevice. Releasing his right hand from its grasp
on the shelf, he then carried it below the left, and
having got a firm hold of the edge of the fissure,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 39
let go with the left and passed it in its turn under
the right : he changed the position of his feet in
the same manner so long as he could obtain, which
was not always the case, a resting-place for his
toes ; and in this way, with cool self-possession
and undaunted nerve, which even the wild cries
and beating wings of the bird could not move, he
succeeded in safely reaching the small projecting
leaf, and stood on a level with the top of the tree.
The falcon was now within seven feet of him hori
zontally ; but he seemed as far from the attain
ment of his object as before. It was impossible to
spring into the tree, even if its roots should not be
torn from their rocky bed by the force of the leap and
his weight. But the young fisherman possessed
a temper that never yielded to obstacles, and seem
ed to be governed by a spirit that scorned defeat.
Stretching himself out upon the shelf, which was
just broad enough to contain his body lying side
ways to the face of the rock, he looked down, and
saw within reach of his arm a stout root, the
strength of which he tested ; and below this, within
reach of his feet if he should swing himself off,
was a sharp projection scarce the size of his foot ;
and a few inches below that, a stout limb of the
tree rested against the precipice. His eye em
braced at once these advantages, and he did not
hesitate to avail himself of them.
Lightly, but yet with care, he committed his
weight to the root, and, hanging at the full length
of his arm, reached, after three unsuccessful trials,
the spur below with the tip end of one of his toes.
This, to one like him, was a sufficient hold to au
thorize him to release his grasp above. Lying, like
a fly upon a wall, close against the side of the rock,
he now fearlessly yet cautiously let go his hold, and
stood with one foot on the projection, with no other
40 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
support but his muscular adhesion to the wide wall
of the precipice. This was a situation attended
with the most imminent peril ; and by the firmly-
closed lips and the almost stern expression of hi-s
eyes, it was clear that he was fully conscious of
his dangerous position. But there was no shrink
ing, no pallor, no sign of fear ! He was equal to
the danger he had braved ; and, as this increased,
the powers of his mind and body seemed to expand
to compass it.
The branch of the tree was within a few inches
of the point on which his foot rested. Slowly and
cautiously he dropped his unsupported leg, while he
pressed his cheek and shoulder close against the
side of the cliff; for he knew that the slightest de
viation from the equilibrium would be fatal. His
foot at length touched the horizontal limb, which
was the thickness of a man's arm where it met
the rock. He repeatedly pressed upon it, each
successive time harder and heavier, until he found
that it would bear his whole weight. Then di
recting his hand carefully downward towards his
feet, he placed it on the point of rock, removing his
foot at the same instant to make room for it, and
stood upright and with confidence on the limb.
Satisfied that the branch, which, turned back
by the cliff, had forced the tree to lean over the
water, would safely sustain him, he now glanced
down to the foot of the tree, and began to inspect
the hold of the trunk upon the shelf from which it
grew. The examination afforded him no very
great assurance ; nevertheless, he determined to
test its strength by advancing out on the limb,
though aware that, if it should yield to his weight,
he would be hurled with it into the sea. Even
this reflection did not present any weighty objection
to his making the trial ; for with a fearless reck-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 41
ksssness, for which there is no sufficient term in
language, he half anticipated the possibility of such
a catastrophe, and caught himself calculating the
chances in favour of his taking in safety a flight
into the deep pool beneath. Letting go his grasp
on the point of rock, he now settled himself astride
the branch, and made gradual approaches towards
the trunk. It remained firm as the rock in which
it was imbedded, and scarcely gave signs of feel
ing his weight till he touched the body, when the
top slightly vibrated. He paused ; but, finding it
still remain fast, rose to his feet and clasped the
scathed trunk, at first lightly, and then more firmly ;
and at last, gaining confidence, he shook it till the
hawk fluttered anew in its perch. Assured of its se
curity, his lips unclosed, and his eyes lost their se
verity, and with a smile of success he cast them tri
umphantly upward, where, but a few feet above
him, entangled by the long shaft of the arrow and
his broken wing, he saw the falcon secured in the
crotch formed by a fork of three stumps of limbs
(all that decay had left) that terminated its summit.
Without hesitation he began to climb the trunk,
which, save the limb by which he had reached
it, and the branches crowning it, was bare from
its roots upward. This was the least difficult part
of his hazardous enterprise, and he soon got within
reach of the bird, and stretched one arm forth to
seize him by the wing. But the fierce animal, who
had for a few moments ceased his struggles to
watch, with a quick and guarded glance, the move
ments of the young fisherman, no sooner saw this
hostile demonstration on the part of his human foe,
than, with an intelligence supernaturally called forth
by existing suffering and anticipated danger, he
struck at him fiercely with his sharp, glittering tal
ons ; while, stretching downward his head to the
42 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
full extent of his neck, he uttered long, wild cries
of mingled fear and menace. Nothing daunted by
what, in itself, was sufficiently appalling, the young
man coolly watched his opportunity, and, at the ex
pense of several severe wounds in the wrist from
his talons, caught the hawk by the throat. Cling
ing round a limb with the disengaged arm, he raised
himself higher in the tree, and lifting his prize,
which still struck at him with his armed feet, he
skilfully extricated the wing and arrow from the
crotch : the next instant, with the huge, fluttering
bird in his hand, he had slidden down the trunk,
and was standing on the transverse limb with a
flushed brow, and a triumphant look illuminating
his handsome and fearless countenance.
With one arm bent around the, tree, and the other
holding the hawk at full length, he now began to
cast his eyes upward. They travelled over the bare
surface, scarcely without lighting upon a resting-
place for a squirrel ; and he began, for the first
time, to question the possibility of reascending ; it
having been comparatively easy for him to let his
body down by the orevice, as he had descended,
while it would be impracticable for him to lift its
whole weight up again by the mere effort of the fin
gers. A glance demonstrated this to him at once.
But time was not given him to reflect on a plan for
surmounting a difficulty which, in reality, was insur
mountable, his faculties being at once called into ac
tion to save himself from being thrown from this
dizzy perch by the struggles of the hawk. This fe
rocious creature had been wounded by the arrow in
the side just beneath the wing, which was broken by
the fall to the earth, and, thence passing upward, the
barb had come out through his back, without touch
ing any vital part. His strength was, therefore,
.through pain, rather augmented than diminished ;
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 43
and notwithstanding the manual pressure upon his
windpipe, he now began to battle fiercely with his
captor, fighting both with his claws and remaining
wing. Though holding him out at arm's length,
the young man was unable wholly to defend him
self from the sirong blows of the wing, which was
three feet in length, with which he violently as
sailed him about the head, while with his talons
he succeeded in striking his person and inflicting a
deep wound in his breast. He for a time coolly
bore the heavy sweeps of the wing, hoping he
would soon tire ; but he forgot that his terrible
antagonist was " the bird of tireless wing ;" and,
at length, finding his own strength beginning to
fail, though his spirit was unsubdued, he loosened
his hold from the trunk of the tree which his
arm had hitherto encircled, and, leaning his back
against it, watched his opportunity, and suddenly,
with a firm grasp, seized the wing as it was
beating against his temples, and, by a sudden and
skilful turn of his wrist, dislocated it. This bold
act nearly destroyed his equilibrium ; and, after its
successful accomplishment, he just had time to
recover his hold on the tree to save himself from
falling into the dark wave below. For a moment
afterward his heart throbbed tumultuously ; and re
flecting on the imminent peril he had incurred by
this necessary exposure, he trembled with emotion
and several times breathed heavily, as if to relieve
his breast of a weight of suffocating sensations
the tribute which nature demanded of humanity.
Goaded to increased rage by the additional pain,
and maddened at his vain efforts to lift his useless
wing, the eyes of the hawk glittered in his head
like a snake's, and, opening his red jaws, he thrust
forth his long, narrow tongue, and hissed at his cap
tor like an angry serpent. It was a moment that
44 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
called for all the moral energy and physical nerve
man is capable of exercising in the hour of danger.
The extraordinary young fisherman evinced the
possession of these qualities in a degree adequate
to the crisis which called them into action. With
his eyes fixed unflinchingly on the burning eyeballs
of the hawk, and calmly indifferent the while to
the terrible hisses which came hot from his throat
and fell warm upon his face, he continued to keep
him at bay so that his talons should not reach his
person, and put forth all his strength to strangle him.
There was a moral grandeur in the spectacle this
young fisher's lad presented, fearlessly perched on
his fearful eminence, as regardless of the depth be
low as if standing in his own cottage door, battling
at such odds with the fiercest warrior of the air !
It was at this crisis that one of the fisher
men, a very old man, whose attention, with that
of his companions, had been hitherto too much
occupied by the trial at archery to give a thought
to the youth, after having remained to see the prize
awarded to the victress, turned to leave the ground,
when missing the young man, he recollected that
he had seen him follow the hawk to the verge of
the cliff. Calling him by name and not receiving
any reply, he approached the precipice ; but finding
that he was on the most perpendicular part of it, he
cast only a hasty glance down, and was about to turn
away, supposing he had, unseen, descended to the
beach by the usual route a little farther to the
north, when a movement far below arrested his
eyes. Looking steadily, he beheld the youth with
one arm clasped round the tree, and the other
stretched out, holding the bird by the neck, while
all his moral and physical energies were called
into action to enable him to defend himself against
the talons of the savage creature.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA.
A glance conveyed to the fisherman the whole
extent of the danger ; and, after looking down upon
him for a moment in speechless horror, his limbs
trembled with fear, and, giving utterance to a wild
cry, he would have fallen from the precipice had
he not caught by a tree that hung over its verge.
Kate Bellamont was the first to reach the cliff on
hearing the alarm given by the old man ; and, glan
cing down, she intuitively comprehended the peril
in which the youth had placed himself. With
wonderful presence of mind, waving her hand back
to those advancing, she said with energy,
" Hold ! all of ye ! Breathe not a word ! He
is in mortal danger ! A shriek, or a sign of fear
among us may unnerve his bold spirit and be fatal
to him !"
Several of the young archeresses stopped sud
denly, and turned pale at this intimation of danger;
while one or two, with more sensibility of nerves,
unable to control their fears, turned and fled to
wards the castle, as if in the retirement of their
closets they would shut out all sense of the threat
ened evil. Young Lord Robert was the first by
Kate Bellamont's side.
" By Heaven ! a bold peasant !" he said, his
eyes sparkling with admiration; "but "
" Lester, this is no time for words," spoke the
maiden, quickly. " Something must be done for
him. How could he have got there in safety !
Poor, rash youth !"
" Alas ! my child, my lost, lost child !" cried the
old fisherman, who was seated on the ground sha
king his head mournfully, turning his eyes away
from the trying scene. " God protect thee, lad,
for no human aid will avail thee !"
"Do not despair, good Dennis, he may yet be
saved," said Kate, encouragingly.
46 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Let go the bird !" shouted Lester.
The fisher's lad, whose attention had been called
to the top of the cliff by the shout of the old man,
and who had watched the movements of those
above, smiled proudly at this request, and firmly
shook his head in the negative.
" He deserves to perish if he will peril his life
for that bird," said the young noble.
" Hush, Lester, he must be aided. Mark, drop
the bird, or he will throw you off. How could you
be so foolish as to adventure your life for that fierce
"There is humble gallantry at the bottom of
it, I dare swear," said Lester, with a tone in which
there was a slight shade of scorn.
" Perhaps there may be !" was the quiet reply
of the maiden. " Mark, let the bird go, I command
you. If your life is sacrificed, I shall feel that I am
the cause of it."
" By the bow of Dan Cupid ! I would change
places with the serf to have my situation create
such an interest in your breast, fair lady." This
was spoken, partly with sincere feeling, partly with
derision, by the haughty Lester.
The full, dark gaze of Kate Bellamont encoun
tered his ; and with a manner that eloquently con
veyed the feeling of contempt that sprang up in her
heart, she said,
" Robert Lester must have fallen low in his own
self-esteem to be jealous of a fisher's lad !"
The young noble, with all his native haughti
ness and pride of spirit, possessed a generous nature,
and was ever ready to atone for the wounds which
his wayward temper might have caused him una
wares to inflict. Especially was this the case where
Kate Bellamont was the party interested. With
an instantaneous change peculiar to hasty spirits,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 47
he sought pardon of the offended maiden with his
eyes, and at once appeared so different, that she
saw that she could fully rely on him ; plainly read
ing in his face, with unerring feminine tact, that he
nobly had resolved to banish every feeling but the
humane one the occasion demanded.
" Lester, he will not release the bird for which
he has perilled so much," she said, with frank con
fidence in her tones, " and we must devise some
means to save both him and his prize. Haste to
the castle, and get a rope to save your comrade !"
she cried to the remaining fisherman.
" I will save him with my life !" said the young
noble. " How many bows have we here ?"
U A dozen," said Kate, at once comprehending
the object of his inquiry. " But are they strong
enough, Robert ?"
."To bear the weight of three men. Aid me,
Kate, in making a chain of them."
In a few seconds they had prepared a rope or
chain nearly threescore feet in length, of bows
strung together, each link being five feet long.
Firmly securing one end to the top of the precipice
by carrying it over an upright limb, they success
fully tested the strength of the whole by extending
it along the lawn, half a dozen drawing on it at
once without breaking it.
" This will do," he said with confidence, ap
proaching the cliff to let it down ; but, to his sur
prise, he saw that the youth no longer retained
the bird, which, notwithstanding the command of
the maiden, he had hitherto seemed resolved, as
Lester had hinted, to preserve, at the peril of his
While these preparations had been making on
the cliff, the hawk, not being any longer able to
reach the young fisher's body with his talons, began
48 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
to strike and lacerate his wrists. Finding at length
that his strength was unequal to the effort of strangu
lation (his intention having been, if he could_have
killed him, to have lashed him to his back, and so
ascended with him), and satisfied that, while holding
him in his hand alive, he could not reascend, he re
luctantly had been compelled by a severe wound
in the hand to let him go. In his fall the bird
struck heavily against the root of the tree, and,
bounding off, descended twenty feet lower, when
the point of the arrow, which passed through him
like a spit, caught in a cleft and firmly held him on
the little shelf before described, which projected
from the brow that beetled over the sea at the height
of seventy feet from it. The youth watched him
a few moments steadily, and saw that he moved
neither wing nor talon. He was dead !
When the intrepid lad saw him arrested in this
manner, and that life was now extinct, the cloud of
regret that began to darken his face was all at once
chased away by a sunbeam of pleasure ; for he dis
covered, as he followed the bird's course with his
eye, that the cleft in which he was caught com
menced at the very foot of the tree, and offered him
the same perilous facilities of descent that the zig
zag one above had afforded. When Lester looked
over the cliff preparatory to letting down the chain
of bows, he beheld him, therefore, to his astonish
ment, in the act of swinging himself from the hori
zontal limb, and the next moment clinging about
the trunk below it. Before either Kate or he could
speak to warn him, so sudden was their surprise, the
daring youth had effected a cautious and rapid de
scent of the tree, and was standing safely at its
roots : on casting their eyes farther below, they
discerned, hanging over the very verge of the brow,
midway the precioice, the lifeless ger- falcon, which
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 49
instantly accounted 4o them for this new and unex
" His blood be upon his own head !" cried the
maiden, shrinking from the sight. " Lester, look !
Is he not attempting to reach the bird ? Or perhaps
he finds that he cannot climb the precipice again,
and is trying to descend to the water !"
"It is a long step of seventy feet from where
that bird hangs to the bottom," said the old fisher
man, for an instant rousing himself. " He will
die, lady, and I shall have to convey his mangled
corpse in my skiif to my lonely hut, and dig for
the poor boy a grave in the sand. I loved him as
if he had been my own flesh and blood !"
Kate was about to ask him, with surprise, if he
were not his own son, when a cry of alarm caused
her to turn round just in time to see Lord Robert
commit himself fearlessly to the chain of bows and
swing himself over the dizzy verge. As he de
scended from her sight, with a smile on his lip and
a devotion of the eyes as he met hers, that told her,
plainer than words could convey it, that he ventured
his life for her sake prompted by his sympathy
with the interest she took in the daring fisher's boy,
he said resolutely,
" I will save him in spite of himself, or share his
She was about to speak, but her voice failed her ;
and covering her eyes to hide him, as he hung sus
pended above the sea, from her swimming sight,
for a few seconds she appeared as if her presence
of mind had deserted her. This weakness, if an
emotion so natural can be termed such, was but
momentary. Recovering herself by a strong men
tal effort, she once more looked over the cliff, and
calmly watched the descent of the daring Lester,
whom she knew to be a skilful cragsman, with a
VOL. I. E
50 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
prayer on her lip for his safety. The novel chain
by which he descended reached to within ten feet of
the spot where the young fisherman stood, and the
intention of Lord Robert was to take the tree, and
reach the roots of it as the other had done before
him. He had accomplished, however, but a few
feet of his passage down the rock, not without great
peril, though at each junction of the bows he found
a resting-place for his feet and a hold for his hands,
when the young fisher's lad lowered himself from
his shelf, and, getting his fingers in the cleft, began
to descend, alternately supporting his weight by his
arms, with a celerity and apparent recklessness that,
to the spectators above, was fearful to witness : he,
however, took a firm grasp of the rock each time,
and with a cool head and steady eye, gained the
spur where the hawk was fixed. In the mean while
Lord Robert had reached the tree ; and leaving the
chain swinging in the air, he clasped the trunk, and
quickly descended it : but the object for which he
had so generously ventured his life was now twenty
feet below him. With all his nerve, the fearless
young noble shuddered when he looked down and
beheld the means by which the fisher's lad had
made his last descent. Both had reached the
points at which they aimed at the same instant ; and
when Lord Robert bent over to look down, holding
firmly by the roots of the tree, the other was stand
ing with perfect self-possession on his dizzy foot
hold, holding the hawk in one hand, and waving
with the other to those above.
" Do you value your life so lightly, peasant, with
out saying anything of the painful sympathy your
folly produces in those who are spectators of your
foolhardiness, that you peril it after this fashion ?"
said the young noble, passionately, yet unable to
refuse the admiration due to his fearless character.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 51
"I am not your serf, Lord Robert of Castle
More, that my life should be of value in your eyes,"
said the youth, with a look and bearing as haughty
as the young noble's.
" Ha !" exclaimed Lord Robert, with astonish
ment and anger ; " these are brave words to come
from beneath a homespun jerkin. By the cross of
St. Peter ! fisherman, thou dost presume too much
upon that equality to which mutual danger has for
the moment brought us. I have periled my life to
assist ihee not by mine own will, by Heaven ! for
thou deserves! to be rewarded for thy temerity by
a bath in the sea ; but at the bidding of a lady, who,
perforce, thinks, if thou shouldst, by any lucky
chance, break thy neck for the hawk her arrow has
sent over the cliff, thy blood will be on her head.
So I have explained to thee the heighth and depth
of my charity, lest thou shouldst swell still bigger
to think that, peasant as thou art, thou hast made a
noble thy servant."
"A very proper speech, I have no doubt, Lord
Robert More," answered the fisherman, with a quiet
smile of superiority (as the noble construed it). " I
need none of your lordship's aid. Without it I
came down, and without it I can go up again."
" The devil have thee, then, for thy obstinacy,"
cried Lester, his eyes flashing with anger; "by
the rood, if I had thee there, I would be of a mind
to help thee down rather than up."
" The path by which I came is equally open to
your lordship," was the cool answer. "Robert
More, thrice have I saved your life ; and though you
have thanked me like a noble for the deed at the
time, have after cancelled it by treating me like
a slave, because the accident of birth has made
you noble and me base. Leave me again. I will
52 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
not owe my life to your lordship !" This was said
in a steady and determined, but very quiet tone.
" My good Meredith, I will forgive thy rudeness
of speech, for thou hast had offence," said the young
man, struck with his proud and independent char
acter, so nearly akin to his own. " The haughtiness
with which I have treated thee is one of the conse
quences of this accident of birth. Believe me, I
have never forgotten what I owe to thy courage :
once saved from drowning by thee ! once snatched
from a peril almost equal to that thou art now in !
once preserved from death beneath the antlers of an
enraged stag ! I have not forgotten these debts,
thou seest. If I have seemed to thee ungrateful, set
it down, brave Mark, to pride of birth rather than
want of feeling. Shall I aid thee, lad, in gaining
the top ?"
" Lord Robert, your words have atoned for the
past," said the young fisherman, not unmoved by
this generous and manly defence of the proud
young noble ; " nevertheless, I will not owe my life
to you P
The noble fastened his penetrating gaze on the
upturned face of the young fisherman, and thought
he discovered a meaning there that was a key to
" Ha! I have it !" he said, internally, after a few
moments' reflection. " He dares to place his
thoughts on her /"
Instantly, with that lightning-like rapidity with
which his impulsive feelings changed, he shouted
in a loud, haughty tone of voice,
" Ho, Sir Peasant ! prithee tell me what strange
fondness for dead hawks set thee to jeoparding thy
life after this sort ?"
" Lester," cried Kate Bellamont from the summit
of the cliff, hearing their voices without under-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 53
standing the words, " why this delay ? Can there
be no means of reaching the noble youth ?"
" Noble youth !" repeated the young man, scorn
fully, to himself ; " it will be a princely next. By
the cross ! If he does not smile and wave his daring
hand to her ! And she answers it back ! Fel
low !" he added, fiercely, " I will come down and
hurl thee into the sea !"
" You are welcome, Lord Robert," replied the
other, unmoved ; " yet, as there is barely room for
me, it is certain that, if you do descend, one of us
only can remain upon it."
The impetuous Lester was already preparing to
descend by the crevice ; but the coolness of the
other at once disarmed his anger.
" Thou art a brave fellow, Mark, and I would
not injure thee. But," he added, sternly, " see that
thou cross not my path !"
" How mean you, Lord Robert ?" he inquired,
concealing his penetration of the lover's motives
under a look of simplicity that embarrassed the
haughty and sensitive noble.
Before he could reply, the voice of the Countess
of Bellamont, encouraging them both, was heard
from the summit. She only had this instant ar
rived, drawn hither by the rumour of the danger of
the fisher's lad, accompanied by Dermot, and one
or two men-servants, with ropes and other means of
assisting those below.
Her first proceeding, on discovering the position
of the parties, was to attach the rope to the chain of
bows, and have the end of it firmly tied to the tree.
She then bade the men to lower it steadily till it
could be reached by Lord Robert, and in a few
seconds he held it in his grasp.
" Now, Sir Peasant," said Lester, relaxing into
54 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
his former haughty mood, " here is the means of
reascending the cliff."
" You may profit by it, my lord, I will not," said
the youth, firmly. "I will receive no favour at
" Then, by Heaven, thou shall ascend, whether
thou wilt or no," said the noble, with energy. " I
have pledged my word to save thee, and I will re
deem my pledge. Ho ! there above ! Drop a
piece of cord a few yards in length, so that it will
fall at my feet."
The coil was placed by Kate Bellamont on the
rope, and the next moment, sliding down like a ring
along the chain of bows, it was caught in his
" Let out twenty feet more of the rope," he
again shouted, " and see that it is well fast above."
As it passed through his hands, he conducted it
over the shelf on which he stood till it touched the
feet of the young fisherman. He had quietly
watched these preparations, and, as they were com
pleted, he coolly glanced into the depth beneath, and
then upward to the young noble, with an air so reso
lute that the other paused ere he descended by the
chain, on a link of which one foot already rested.
" Surely thou wilt not be so mad !" exclaimed
Lester, reading a fatal determination in his lofty
and intrepid look.
" Robert More, I will owe you no favour. Rather
than be beholden to you for my life, I will fling it
away, as freely as I have now hazarded it to win a
smile from the fair maiden of Castle Cor."
" THOU ! By Heaven, I thought it !" he shouted,
with scorn and indignation. " If I had thee on a
piece of ground two feet square that would hold us
both, I would waive my birth, and do battle with
thee on that score, hind as thou art ! and see if I
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 55
could not beat out of thy bones this leaven of inso
lence ! I will now assuredly aid thy return to the
summit, that I may have the pleasure afterward of
doing for thee this good service."
As Lester spoke, he committed himself with
cool intrepidity to the chain, holding in one hand
the coil of line, by which it was evidently his in
tention to lash the young fisherman to the rope, and
began rapidly to descend.
" Robert More, I do not fear to meet you on any
ground. If I did, I should hardly take this leap to
avoid the lesson you have in contemplation for me !
But I will owe you no favour, not even that of life.
Nor shall you lay a finger upon me to force me to
do your pleasure in this thing. Hold ! place your
foot on the nock of this second bow above me, and
I will take a free spring out into the air."
This was said in a tone and manner a steady
uplighting of his clear dark eyes, and a firm, mus
cular compression of the lip that made the other
hesitate ; but it was only for an instant : the next
moment he let the bow to which he held slip
through his hands, and he descended with velocity
till his foot struck upon the last link, which was on
a level with the young fisherman's head. At the
same moment the latter elevated his arms high above
his head, holding the hawk between his hands, and
placing his feet close together, made a spring into
the air !
Lester, with a full knowledge of his cool and res
olute character, had not anticipated this result;
and, in his surprise, had nearly let go his hold. He
at the same time uttered a cry of horror, which
was answered from the summit by a loud wail of
anguish from many voices ; for this act had been
witnessed by all, without the cause which influ
enced it being apparent. Preserving the erect at-
56 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
titude with which he had left the rock, the young
fisherman descended like lightning, cut the still
bosom of the black wave beneath, and disappeared
below the agitated surface ; the heavy, splashing
sound of his fall striking on the ears of those on
the summit of the cliff like his death-knell. Wild
and full of mortal anguish was the shriek that echoed
A flush of hope lighted up the countenance of
Lester when he saw the accuracy with which he
had struck the surface, and thought upon the man
ner of his descent. At the same time Kate Bella-
mont, who had been an interested but puzzled spec
tator (for their voices, at the height she stood, had
not distinctly reached her) of the previous conduct
of the parties, and had beheld with horror the seem
ingly fatal act of the adventurous youth, also mark
ed the natatory art with which he had taken the
spring ; and, scarcely hoping, watched, equally with
Lester, the circling waves, as they widened from
the centre, with an intensity amounting to agony.
After an interval of full thirty seconds, which
seemed an age to those who watched, the water,
which had once more become nearly smooth, was
seen to part many yards from the point of descent,
and the head of the daring youth appeared above
the surface. A shout, loud and long, greeted him
from the cliff; and no voice was louder or more glad
in the joyful welcome than Lord Robert's. With
the hawk elevated in one hand, and buffeting the
waves with the other, he swam bravely towards a
belt of sand a few yards farther northward ; and in
a few moments afterward he safely landed, full in
sight of those standing anxiously on the cliff. Point
ing to his prize, and waving his hand to Kate Bella-
mont with native gallantry, he disappeared around
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 57
an angle of the shore, to reascend, by a beaten and
easy path, to the summit of the promontory.
In the mean time Lord Robert became an object
of renewed interest to the party. He was sixty
feet from the top of the cliff, with no other means
of reaching it than the precarious chain of bows and
a few additional feet of rope : even the permanent
safety of this was doubtful. It depended solely for
its strength on the goodness of the yews and the
entire soundness of the slender bow-strings ; and
one of these he discovered, on running his eyes
upward, was chafed by some sharp point of the
rock with which it had come in contact. There
remained, however, no alternative. It was plain
that he must either trust himself to it, or follow the
example of the young fisherman, and take the leap
into the sea. For a moment he gazed down into
the water, and seemed to measure with deliberate
purpose the empty void between ; but, shaking his
head with doubt, he once more turned his attention to
the equally dangerous, but more probable, means of
escape. The catgut which had stranded belonged
to the third bow above him. Drawing hard upon
it with his whole weight, he saw that it was slowly
untwisting, and that it would be madness to trust
himself to it. His self-possession, however, did
not desert him.
" Can you obtain no stout rope that will reach
me here, ' wild Kate ?' " he said, in a careless tone ;
" I fear the ragged points of the rock will cut your
bow-strings, and spoil them for further shooting."
" No, Lester, there is none !" answered the
maiden, in a deep voice, that betrayed the depth
and intensity of her feelings at this crisis ; " men
have been sent to the cove for ropes, but it is far,
and it will be long before they return, even if they
succeed in getting them. God protect you ! Pre-
58 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
serve your coolness, for my sake, Robert !" she ad
ded, with that force and truth that spurned, at such
a moment, all disguise.
Her words seemed to have awakened anew
the spirit within him. Placing his hand on his
heart, he carried it to his lips, and gallantly waved
it towards her. She answered it encouragingly in
return ; but instantly turning away overcome by her
feelings, cast herself on the bosom of her mother,
and burst into tears.
Necessarily ignorant of this touching testimony
of her attachment to him, which his imminent dan
ger now forbade her to disguise longer under a
mask of badinage, Lester concentrated all his en
ergies to the task before him. He felt that before
the lapse of one or two hours, which it would re
quire to get ropes from the cove which was more
than a league distant, the inconvenience of his po
sition would have left him with little strength to
climb the cliff, even with the assistance that might
then be rendered. He was now in the full pos
session of his physical and mental energies, and
resolved, without longer delay, to avail himself of
them. Taking the cord, which he had demanded
for a very different intention, he fastened one end
around his wrist ; then leaning backward from the
rock, sustaining himself by the grasp of one hand
on the chain, he threw it upward with such accu
rate aim that it passed through the bow next above
the one with the stranded string, and fell down
within his reach. He then loosened it from his
wrist, firmly secured the ends to the lower bow on
which he was sustained, and so made the cord sup
ply the place of the weak bow-string, and bear the
whole strain. This done, he prepared to ascend
the smooth face of the rock twenty feet to the foot
of the tree, Grasping the cord with both hands, he
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 59
braced himself in a horizontal position, one of most
imminent hazard which demanded all the cool
ness, self-possession arid physical strength he was
possessed of, and began literally to walk up the
perpendicular side of the precipice. The stranding
of a string ; a sudden strain upon the tensely bent
bows ; the least deviation from the horizontal,
would have been instantly fatal ! Coolly, slowly,
steadily, lifting himself, step by step, hand after
hand, he at last got to a level with the tree, firmly
grasped one of its roots, and by its aid sprung
lightly upon the shelf on which it grew.
His preparations had been watched, and it was
told Kate Bellamont that he was preparing to as
cend. But the maiden had yielded her full heart
to her woman's nature ; and while he was making
the perilous ascent, with her head lifted from her
mother's bosom, and with tearful eyes and clasped
hands, she was looking heavenward, breathing a
silent prayer for his safety. A shout of joy an
nounced to her his success ! Once more she
dropped her face and wept with joy. Lady Bel
lamont, who felt that all had been done that cir
cumstances admitted of, refrained from watching
his perilous feat ; and, while she solaced her daugh
ter, calmly directed Cormac the forester to steady
the rope, and keep it from rubbing against the rocks.
Quitting the chain, Lester now ascended the tree
to the transverse branch, which he had scarcely
reached when a loud crack at the root warned him
that the scathed solitary of the cliff, unused to such
repeated trials, was giving way under his weight.
Hardly had he time to throw himself upon the
chain, and hang by a bowstring with one hand,
when a series of loud reports rapidly followed each
other as one after another the roots snapped ; the
top of the tree waved wildly to and fro, and t^en
60 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
the huge trunk plunged, crashing and roaring, into
the flood beneath. For an instant afterward the
appalled Lester continued to cling to the fragile
chain with nervous solicitude ; but at length as
sured that he was not to be carried along with it
into the frightful gulf, he prepared to continue, by
the same process of horizontal walking he had
hitherto adopted, his upward progress to the next
shelf, six feet above him, and with which the top of
the tree had been on a level.
The effect of the fall of the tree on those so
deeply interested above can scarcely be imagined.
Lady Bellamont answered the heavy crash by a
wild shriek, echoed by all around save Kate. With
her the dreadful suspense and anxiety were now
lost in the certainty of his fate. She calmly raised
her head, approached the cliff with a firm step,
and looked steadily down, not with hope, but with
a settled gaze of despair, as if she would take a
last look at his grave, and for ever impress upon
her heart's tablet his sea-covered tomb. It was
at this moment of her soul's anguish she confessed
within her own heart that, notwithstanding the
lightness with which she might have attempted to
disguise it, she loved him with all the fervour and
devotedness of a first passion. Approaching the
verge with such feelings, her surprise was only
equalled by her joy when she saw him in the act
of climbing on the shelf above described. A joyful
cry escaped her ; and the bold youth, looking up,
acknowledged her presence with a proud smile and
wave of his hand. From this moment Kate Bel
lamont was herself again. He was safe ! The
change from grief to joy in her countenance was
slectrical ! and she prepared to watch and aid his
ascent with all the coolness and energy she was
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 61
He had accomplished thus far his arduous task
in comparative safety ; and as he had now but twen
ty feet more to ascend, she looked with confidence
to its successful accomplishment. This space,
however, save a shelf within eight feet of the top
on which the young fisherman had alighted, and the
zigzag crevice by which he had descended the re
maining twelve feet, was steep as a wall, and as
difficult of ascent. The young man, after having
hitherto passed through such trying scenes, was
not now to be daunted by any obstacles, of what
ever magnitude, that opposed his farther progress.
Nerving himself to the effort, he grasped the rope,
which here had taken the place of the chain of
bows, and extended himself, as before, into a hori
zontal position, meeting and returning with a smile,
as he did so, her look of solicitude. As he slowly
and laboriously ascended, she inspired the men to
their task of keeping the rope from the cliff, often
assisting them with her own ringers, till at length
she was rewarded by seeing him safely reach the
shelf, and stand within eight feet of the summit.
By her direction the men now bent the projecting
branch of the tree until it was within his reach ;
when, aided by one hand placed on the rope, he
lightly climbed the limb, -and with a spring stood
in safety on the top of the cliff.
Kate, who had scarcely breathed as she watch
ed this final effort, guided by the impulse of the
moment, flung herself at once, grateful, happy,
weeping, into his arms ! so certain it is that
true love will out, give it occasion to speak for it
self ! And what fitter one than this ? At such a
time, love is both deaf and blind. It sees, hears,
knows no voice but its own ; is indifferent to the
opinions of a world of witnesses, and, setting aside
all canons of propriety and discretion, abandons it-
VOL. I. F
62 CAPTAIN KYD J OR, T
self to the impulses of its ardent nature. Such was
the love of Kate Bellamont.
But love, like all other emotions, is but short
lived in its excess. The temporary excitement
passes away ; reflection follows ; notions of pro
priety return ; and the conscious victim, blushing,
mortified, angry with shame, feels that there is a
world of witnesses to whose canons she is amena
ble, and shrinks at the judgment that will be passed
on her outrage of its received notions of maidenly
propriety. Such, the next moment after abandon
ing herself to the first wild gush of joy at his es
cape, were the thoughts that rushed thick on the
mind of the proud and sensitive maiden. She
sprang away from him ; hid her face in her hands ;
and, for the moment, scarcely knew whether her
wounded feelings would have vent in tears or laugh
ter. True to her character as " Wild Kate of Cas
tle Cor," the latter prevailed ; and, exposing her
face, she broke into a fit of merry laughter, which
was caught up and continued, with many a lively
witticism, by those around, who, the moment be
fore, were sad and gloomy under the pressure of
fatal forebodings : for so wonderfully, yet wisely,
is the human heart constituted, that smiles never
come so readily, and are never so bright, as when
heralded by tears.
The gratified Lester was too happy to receive
such an ingenuous, impulsive token of her love,
and of its deep, womanly sincerity, to feel hurt at
this change in her manner, which his good sense
enabled him to refer to its true cause. With deep
and silent pleasure, he felt that that moment had
fully repaid him for all he had risked.
Grace Fitzgerald, who had been by no means an
indifferent spectator of his hazardous adventure.
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 63
now advanced, grasped his hand with great warmth,
and congratulated him on his safety.
" You need not look so very fond, Sir Crags
man," she said, gayly ; " I am not about to follow
the example cousin Kate has so generously set for
us. Oh no ! What with your exploit and Kate's
folly, you will be completely spoiled for me ! I
dare say you would go down that horrid place
again for another such hug as my cousin Kate gave
you. Really, I am shocked !"
" I will go down and take the leap off into the sea
for a similar reception from Grace Fitzgerald,"
said Lester, with an air of gallantry.
" And do you think I would come near such a
dripping monster as you would make of yourself?
No, no, I am no Nereid to fancy a man coming out
of the sea."
" By which I infer, fair lady," he said, archly,
" that, if I will go down and come up dry, you will
give me such a welcome as -"
" Kate gave you ? Really, you are quite spoiled.
Kate, come and take care of your beau cavalier, for
he is no longer fit for any company but yours.
But here comes one I will welcome, dripping or
She bounded forward as she spoke, and met, at
the head of the path, the gallant fisher's lad, who
just then appeared, on his way up from the water,
bearing in his hand the ger-falcon which had been
the cause of putting in peril two human lives. He
was accompanied by the old fisherman, who, hav
ing remained on the summit of the cliff, paralyzed
and inert through alarm and anxiety until assured
of his safety, had gone down to the beach to meet
him on his return. She approached the young ad
venturer with one hand extended to welcome him,
64 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
the forefinger of the other at the same time lifted
with censure. /
" I will shake hands with you, Mark ; but you
deserve, handsome as you are, t<*have your ears
boxed. See what a to-do you have been the cause
of; and all for that great black bird, which Kate,
forsooth, must shoot instead of sending her arrow
at the target. Well, you are a noble and gallant
young man, and I like you. Do you hear that,
Kate ? I too have made a declaration ! Well,
but I won't embrace you, I think, for you are too
While the lively girl was speaking, the rest of
the party, including Lord Robert and Kate, ap
proached and joined in welcoming him.
" My brave Meredith," said Lester, frankly ex
tending his hand, "you deserve a better career than
that before you. Henceforth let us be friends."
The hand of the young noble was received with
out embarrassment and with a native dignity of
manner by the humble youth, that, to all present,
atoned for his want of high birth ; while he said,
with a firm yet respectful tone,
" We may not be enemies, but we can never be
friends, Lord Robert : friendship between the high
and low is but another name for dependance to the
" I fear you speak too truly, Mark," said Kate,
who had congratulated him on his escape with an
honest warmth and sincerity of manner that sent
the blood like lightning to his brows.
" Not in my case, brave Mark," said the noble,
earnestly ; " I will become your patron and "
" And is there patronage without dependance, my
lord ?" he asked, in a quiet tone.
" Well, well," said Lester, colouring, " have it
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 65
your own way. You have pride enough for Lu
" But not enough for a noble," said the other,
with a very slight curl of the lip.
" Mark Meredith," said Kate, reprovingly, " you
forget your station. A proper degree of pride is
the secret of independence. Perhaps you have too
much. Lord Robert is sincere, and means well
" Believe her, Mark," said Grace Fitzgerald,
with playful raillery; "nobody ought to know so
well what Lord Robert means as my cousin Kate."
" Stop your saucy tongue, Grace," said the
maiden, placing a finger on her bright lips. " What
will you now do, Mark, with this bird, that has cost
us, through your thoughtlessness, so much anxiety
" And betrayed a secret that was not quite a
secret before," said the mischievous Grace.
" Grace, prithee hist !" cried Kate, with a spice
" Give me the bird, peasant !" said Lester, in a
tone of authority. " I will nail it on the door of the
lodge at Castle More, in honour of the fair archer
who shot it."
" Here is the gentle owner," replied the youth,
turning towards Kate Bellamont; and gracefully
kneeling as he spoke, he gallantly laid the bird
at her feet, saying,
" Gentle archeress, deign to accept it is the only
boon I crave for my peril this trophy of thy skill.
I have obtained it for thee at the risk of life and
limb, valuing neither, so that I might do thee a
service, and save what I know thou wilt be proud
to preserve in remembrance of this day."
" By the cross ! a forward youth ! 321 Alfred in
disguise, I would swear !" said Lester, haughtily,
66 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
his quick spirit kindling at the scene. " He will
be offering next, fair Kate," he added, scornfully,
" to share with th^e his palace of bark and poles,
and his wide realm of sand and seashells. S'death !
a proper peasant !" The young noble's eyes spar
kled, and he paced the sward with angry impa
tience, as he concluded.
Kate Bellamont was not indifferent to the tone,
manner, and language with which the hawk was
presented by the humble youth. She was flattered
by his well-directed compliments, and pleased, with
out knowing why, with the deep, silent admiration
with which he regarded her. Was it the language
of love ? His manner reminded her of Lester in
his most impassioned moments of devotion ; but
there was in the fine face of the young fisherman
a calmer, sweeter, more chastened expression ; a
reverence without humility ; devotion without awe.
Was it love ? She trembled, as she thought so, and
dared not a second time meet his dark-beaming
eyes. The peculiar character of the expression of
his face was read aright by none but herself and
Lester : for only love and jealousy can translate the
language of love. The light blue eyes of the young
noble flashed fierce fire as he witnessed what he
deemed palpable proof of his suspicions. His
glance turned rapidly from the face of one to the
face of the other. The expression of his maddened
him ; that of hers troubled and puzzled him ; and
he turned away, grinding his teeth with bitterness :
for what is there on earth so bitter as jealousy ?
The contrast between the appearance of these
two haughty young men was as great as that ex
isting between their ranks in life. The young no
ble was in his eighteenth year, tall, and firmly made,
with uncommon breadth and expansion of chest,
which gave a striking appearance of compactness
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 67
and muscular finish to his frame, that promised, in
manhood, nobleness of carriage as well as great
personal strength. His complexion was fair as the
Saxon's ; his features regular as the Greek's ; but,
unlike his, stamped with that union of manly grace
and strength, and bold, fiery energy, supposed to
be characteristic of the ancient Briton. Over his
clear, high forehead fell locks of light flaxen hair
of rare beauty, and shining tresses of the same pale,
golden hue floated about his shoulders. His eyes
were his most remarkable feature. They were
large and blue, clear as light, and of a beautiful
shape, glowing with intellect and sparkling with
animation, and, when undisturbed, beaming with a
soft and gentle expression betokening gayety of tem
per and lightness of spirit; but, when roused by
anger, they flashed fierce fire, and seemed literally
to blaze, so bright was the light they emitted.
They further possessed a striking peculiarity, which
so marked his angered glance that he who once
encountered it never forgot it till his dying day.
This was a habit, or, rather, nature had given it to
him, when under the influence of angry passions,
of lowering his brows down over his eyes in such
a way as to destroy their fine, oval form, and give
them a strange, triangular shape ; and the pupil
of his eyes darkening at the same time till they
grew black as night, communicated to them a sin
gularly wild and terrible expression.
His lips were very beautiful both in form and
colour ; but the upper wore a haughty curl that
marred the beauty of a mouth which nature had
chiselled with the nicest hand. He carried himself
at all times with a gallant but proud air; and his
demeanour was like that of the highborn youths of
his time, taught to regard all of low degree as
created for their use and pleasure. His faults were
68 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
those of education rather than of the heart; and,
where these deeply-grafted prejudices were not at
tacked, he was frank, noble, and generous, and not
unworthy the love of a noble maiden like Kate Bel-
lamont. At the moment seized upon to describe
his appearance, he was standing within a few feet
of the young fisherman, his eyes sparkling with
anger and assuming that remarkable shape which
has been described, with his head and one foot
advanced, and his whole attitude hostile and threat
The fisher's lad, who continued kneeling for an
instant at the feet of the fair archeress awaiting
her acceptance of the trophy he had presented, met
his dark look unmoved, and, as he thought, with a
smile of proud defiance. The appearance of this
bold youth, whose bearing caused the haughty
Lester to question if nature had not a nobility of
her own creation, was, save in his proud carriage,
strikingly opposite to that of the young noble. He
was about the same age, and nearly as tall, but had
not such fulness in the chest, and was wanting
something of his breadth of shoulders ; but his fig
ure, if lighter, was more elegant, and united great
muscular activity with native dignity and ease of
motion. He wore fishermen's loose trousers, with
a coarse jacket of brown stuff, and was both bare
footed and bareheaded. His face was exceedingly
fine. It was oval in shape, with an olive complex
ion, still more darkened by exposure to wind and
sun : now, with the glow of exercise and the magic
presence of her before whom he bent, it had be
come of the richest brown colour. His dark hair
was glossy with sea-water, and, parted naturally
on his brow, fell in long raven waves adown his
well-shaped neck. His eyes were dark as hers
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 69
on whom he gazed, exceedingly large-orbed, and
eloquent with thought and feeling.
" What handsome eyes !" thought Grace Fitz
gerald, as she gazed on them.
" What dangerous eyes !" thought Kate.
His eyebrows were as even and accurately arched
as if pencilled ; but they were redeemed from any
thing like effeminacy, on account of the delicacy of
their outline, by the intellectual fulness of the brow.
His nose was straight, and of just proportions ; his
mouth beautiful as a girl's, yet full of character,
decision, and strength, and oftener it was the seat
of dejected thought than of smiles. Its expression
was generally quiet ; yet the finely chiselled lips
were full of spirit ; and, when silent, seemed most
to speak, so eloquent were the thoughts that col
oured them with their ruby life. The merest move
ment of the' upper conveyed the intensest feelings
with the vivid rapidity of the lightning's flash,
whether they were begotten of scorn or irony,
love or hatred. His bearing, as well as his ap
pearance, was above his station ; and he manifested
a haughty independence of spirit that scorned the
distinctions of rank, and a pride of character that,
in one of his humble grade, was not far from being
closely allied to audacity. But perhaps this only
proceeded from a certain impatience at being com
pelled, nevertheless, to admit in his own person a
conventional inferiority to those with whom he felt
he was on that broad basis of equality, the elements
of which are equal physical and intellectual quali
Though a poor fisher's lad, he possessed all the
feelings and sensations common to humanity, and
experienced emotions both of pleasure and pain ;
could feel disgusted at what was revolting, and be
70 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
pleased at what was agreeable. He shared, there
fore, with all men, of whatever rank, from the prince
to himself for there could scarcely be a lower
scale that mysterious principle of the heart by
which it attracts, and is attracted to, woman he be
held Kate Bellamont, and this moral loadstone, act
ing as nature intended it should do, irresistibly drew
him towards her. Without reflection, without
cherishing either a hope or a fear, but simply hap
py in the contiguity, he gave himself up to the new
and delightful sensations produced by the flow of
love's magnetic fluid through his heart. In plain
words, the poor fisher's lad fell deeply in love with
the highborn heiress of Castle Cor.
No one of the wonderful phenomena of the hu
man mind so fully demonstrates that it is a mesh of
anomalies, as the existence of the fact that, when a
man loves a woman, he has only to learn that an
other regards her with the same flattering senti
ments, to hate him most cordially, seek him out,
quarrel with him, and even take his life. It would
seem to be taken for granted that the knowledge of
this fact would have a directly contrary effect ; for
the presumption irresistibly follows, that whoever
feels an interest in the object to which we our
selves are so closely bound by*lies of love, must,
without regarding the delicacy of the compliment to
our individual tastes, be proportionably loved by us.
But experience has too often demonstrated this by
no means to be the case ; but, on the contrary, the
knowledge of the existence of a parallel attachment
produces in the breast of the legitimate admirer
wrath, malice, and hatred, filling his soul towards
the subject of it with all manner of evil.
True to this feeling of the human heart, the young
noble and fisher's lad forthwith felt rising in their
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 71
breasts towards each other emotions of a hostile
character; for love is a famous leveller, and the
prince can deign even to hate his slave if love raises
him to a rival. In one of the youths it manifested
itself in the cool expression of defiance : in the
other, by haughty scorn and indignant surprise.
When the fisher's lad had finished his manly and
gallant address, he modestly continued to await,
with his hand upon the bird, the acknowledgments
of the fair maiden. Gratified, yet embarrassed,
Kate remained silent, knowing not how to reply to
the chivalrous lad, who, under the magic tuition
of love, had suddenly assumed a character that
alarmed her ; who, all at once, had been converted,
as if by a spell, from the quiet, yet handsome fish
er's boy, who was accustomed to attend her in her
excursions along the beach, into a bold and daring
lover ! She could not be insensible to the compli
ment. She loved Lester with all her heart ; there
fore she could not have requited the youth's boyish
love, had his blood been noble as her own. Yet
there remained a place in her heart for kindly grat
itude, and with a smile that sent the quick colour
to the forehead of the boy, she said, in a voice that
thrilled to his soul,
" I thank you, Mark, for the gift. I will keep it
in remembrance of your courage, as well as a tro
phy of my skill in archery ; notwithstanding, I fear
good Cormac will lay claim to it, as it was hit with
his own arrow. It would make a brave ornament,
with its wings spread at length above the door of
his cot," she added, turning to the old forester, who
stood respectfully on the outskirts of the party that
was gathered about Mark and his ger-falcon.
As she spoke her thanks she extended to Mark
her hand, which he took with blushing embarrass
ment, and, after a moment's hesitation, gracefully
72 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
carried to his lips. The eyes of the young noble
sparkled with anger as he saw the offer of the hand,
but they shot forth a menacing glare as he wit
nessed the act on the part of the youth : turning
on his heel with an execration, he would have left
the ground but for the eye of Kate Bellamont,
which he caught fixed upon him.
" Come, Mark," said Grace, " you must join us
all in the pavilion ; for you need refreshment after
your fatigue. I wish, Robert, you would present
him with one of your green hunting-suits. I de
clare, I should like to see if he would not outbrave
you all. Do ! good Lord Robert."
" You are perfectly crazy, Grace," said Kate,
" Am I ?" was the quiet reply, accompanied by
a quizzical look, which conveyed far more than the
words to Kate's comprehension, and made her, in
spite of her efforts to maintain indifference, look
"You are all beside yourselves, I verily be
lieve," said Lester, in a tone that his accent alone
made biting ; " I have no doubt whatever that it
would oblige you excessively, Lady Grace, if I
would exchange attire with your fishy favourite."
" Really, Lord Robert, I wish you would. I
have a curiosity to know what sort of a fisherman
you would make. I dare say a very nice one,
save a spice or so of pride, that would hardly suit
" Pride in a peasant is impertinence. But 'tis an
attribute most congenial to the station, I discover,"
he added, with cool irony, " and doth recommend
its possessor, I see, most particularly to the favour
of noble ladies."
" I advise you, then, Lester, when you chance
to fall in their good graces," said Kate, assuming
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 73
the same tone, yet qualifying its bitterness with
good-humour, " that you renew your suit under
a fisher's garb ; believe me, it will assuredly re
store you to favour."
" I have no hesitation in believing it," said Les
ter, in a grave tone, and with a marked emphasis
of manner that excited both maidens to laughter;
but he was far from participating in their merriment,
and turned from them with an angry brow.
" I have delayed the banquet too long with this
folly," said Kate ; " hie to the pavilion, fair arch
ers and gallant esquires all," she added, gayly, " and
I will soon follow you. As for you, Mark, I will
send to you some of the choicest viands on the
board, and cousin Grace shall be the bearer of
them. Cormac, take up the hawk."
" This honour will please Lord Robert better,"
replied Grace, glancing at him with an archly ma
" Lord Robert will have nothing to do with this
piece of folly," cried he, in a tone that made her
start. " By the cross of Christ ! peasant, if you
betake not yourself speedily to thy hovel, I will
hurl thee with mine own hand from the cliff upon
As he spoke he advanced upon him. Mark
looked apologetically at Kate, and then sprang to
his feet, and confronted him with that calm cour
age which had hitherto characterized him. His
coolness maddened the impulsive Lester, and with
a bound he leaped upon him, and caught him by
the throat ; but, ere he could get his fingers firmly
clinched upon his windpipe, he reeled violently
backward by the force of a blow upon his chest,
dealt with a skill and accuracy of aim that compen
sated for any inequality of physical strength. With
eyes darkening with rage, he recovered himself, and
VOL. I G
74 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
seeing lying not far from him on the ground his short
hunting-spear, he snatched it up, and launched it at
his breast with a force and direction that would
have transfixed him on the spot but for his presence
of mind ; anticipating its flight, he quietly moved
from its path, when it passed within a few inches
of his head with a loud whirring noise, and, stri
king against a distant rock, shivered into a thousand
"Robert Lester," exclaimed Kate Bellamont,
with a flashing eye and a voice of indignant horror,
" by that act you have forfeited all that belongs to
you as a noble gentleman, and also," she added,
with deep feeling and a proud spirit, " all that con
nects you with any person (I speak for all) that is
" Pardon me, lady," he said, throwing himself at
her feet, and attempting to take her hand.
" Never, Robert Lester. Touch me not ! Leave
me leave me ! Leave us all ! The farther fes
tivities of the day will be marred by your presence !"
" Silence, assassin !" and the dark eyes of the
roused heiress of Bellamont flashed with such a
light as might burn in an indignant seraph's.
" Ha !" he cried, starting to his feet, " this to
" This to you, Robert Lester, who now have
made yourself lower than the meanest peasant. I
degrade you from your esquireship ; and, faith ! if
the more noble Mark Meredith shall not take your
place. Mark, approach and be my esquire of arch
The youth proudly smiled, but hesitated.
" I command you. As true as my father's blood
runs in my veins, thou art the more noble !"
" God of Heaven ! this is too much to bear calm-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 75
Jy," cried Lester, his eyes assuming that remarka
ble shape that characterized them when his anger
had grown to its height.
" Mercy !" cried Grace Fitzgerald, with real
alarm ; " what a fearful look ! I wonder," she
added, with a slight touch of her usual manner,
" that I ever could have had the courage to coquet
with such a terrible creature."
The fierce noble made no reply, but, glancing
from her to Kate, looked pleadingly, as if about to
speak ; but she shook her head with a motion,
scarcely perceptible, but in a firm manner, that left
no hope to his repentant spirit. Striking his fore
head violently, with mingled shame and rage he
rushed from the spot towards the castle, and walked
rapidly until he disappeared behind an angle of one
of the towers. Kate Bellamont followed him with
her eyes, her brow unbent, her proud manner and
high-toned look unchanged ; but, when he could no
longer be seen, there was perceptible a struggle
on her eloquent countenance to restrain the emotion
with which her heart was full. With an even voice
and forced gayety, she said,
"We will now to the pavilion, maidens fair and
cavaliers ; and I trust this rudeness of yonder
haughty boy will not mar our festivities. Mark,
you will attend me. What! has he gone too?
God grant two such fiery youths meet not again
" Didst observe, my lady," said Cormac, who
had been a silent spectator of the exciting scene,
" didst take note of that look out of the eyes of Lord
Robert ? Well, if it did not remind me of Hurtel
o' the Red Hand, as if he had stood before me."
And the old forester ominously shook his head,
as if it contained something very mysterious, yet un
told, and followed the party to the pavilion, whither
76 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
they had already directed their steps, to partake,
with what spirits they might after the scenes that
had transpired, of the luxurious banquet therein
spread for their entertainment.
Here Kate Bellamont, who preserved a calm
dignity the while, and, save to the eye of Grace,
whose generous spirit sympathized warmly and
sincerely in her feelings, betrayed no outward signs
of emotion, with a tranquilly-spoken excuse for her
absence left them and fled to the castle : she ran
through its long hall like a hunted hart; flew up
the broad staircase to her boudoir, and entering it,
closed the door. Then uttering a gasping cry of
suffering, she threw herself, with a wild abandon
ment of passion, upon a seat ; the fountains of her
bursting heart, so long choked up, were opened ;
and she gave way to an irresistible flood of tears.
It is ever thus with woman ! Although, in the
moment of just resentment, pride and anger may
for a while check the flow of affection, and harden
the wounded heart as if bound about with bands of
steel, yet love will return again, dissolve these
bands, and convert resentment into tenderness. It
is its nature to obliterate all dark spots that wrong
may have cast upon the heart ; to palliate offences,
and to forgive even where forgiveness is a weak
ness : it makes, itself half sharer of the fault; is
ever ready to bear the whole weight of the blame,
and with open arms to receive back again, without
either atonement or acknowledgment, the guilty
but still loved offender.
In a few moments the current of her feelings had
changed. She thought of the thousand noble qual
ities of Lester's head and heart, shaded only by the
faults of pride of birth and a hasty temper.
" For these," she asked of her heart, " shall I
break his high spirit ? For these shall I inflict a
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 77
pang on his noble nature ? For these, which
among men are regarded praiseworthy attributes
of highborn gentlemen for these shall I make
him unhappy, and myself for it will kill me
miserable ? Oh, Lester, dear Lester, I was too,
too cruel ! You had cause for anger ; but oh, that
fatal spear ! Would that it had been far from
your hasty arm !"
At this moment she heard the sound of horses'
feet moving rapidly across the court towards the
forest. With a foreboding of the cause she flew to
the lattice, and beheld Lester, mounted on his coal-
black steed, galloping at the top of the animal's
speed away from the castle, each moment burying
his armed heels into his sides, and riding as if he
would outstrip the winds. For a moment she watch
ed him with an earnest gaze, then threw open the
lattice, shouted his name, and waved her hand ! But
his back was towards her, and he was too far off
to hear even her voice calling him to return ; and
in a few seconds afterward he entered the wood.
With tearful eyes she saw the last wave of his dark
plume as he disappeared in the winding of the
road ; and, leaning her hand upon the window, she
sobbed as if her young heart would break. Oh love,
love, what a mystery thou art !
78 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
" Alas ! the love of women ! it is known
To be a lovely and a fearful thing ;
For all of theirs upon that die is thrown,
And if 'tis lost, life hath no more to bring
To them but mockeries of the past alone,
And their revenge is as the tiger's spring,
' Deadly, and quick, and crushing ; yet, as real
Fortune is theirs what they inflict they feel."
KATE BELLAMONT gazed after the departing Les
ter until his receding form became indistinct, and
his dancing plume mingled with the waving foliage
of the forest into which he rode ; she then bent
her ear and listened till his horse's feet ceased
longer to give back a sound, when, overcome by
the depth and strength of her feelings, she leaned
her head upon the lattice and wept like a very
child ; at length she recollected the duties that de
volved upon her as entertainer of the party of arch
ers ; and, forcing a calmness that she did not feel,
she descended to the lawn, and once more mingled
in the festivities of her birthday.
Notwithstanding all her self-possession, her eyes
often filled with tears when they should have light
ed up with smiles ; and even her smiles were
tinged with sadness ! And how could it be other
wise, when her heart and her thoughts were at no
moment with the scenes before her? She longed
for the day to close for the night to approach
that she might fly to her solitary chamber, and
there, hidden from every eye, indulge her feelings.
At length the long, long day came to an end, and
with it departed the youthful company on horse
back to their several homes. A gay and gallant
appearance the cavalcade presented as it rode
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 79
away from the castle a youthful cavalier prancing
by the bridle of each maiden, and a band of armed
retainers of the several families bringing up the
rear. Kate bade them adieu, and stood in the
hall-door following them with her eyes till the last
horseman was lost in the windings of the forest ;
she then flew to her chamber, and, turning the bolt
of her door, cast herself upon her heal and once
more gave free vent to the gushing tears which she
could no longer restrain.
Twilight was lost in night : the round moon rose
apace, and, shining through the Gothic lattice, fell
in a myriad of diamond-shaped flakes on the floor;
yet had she not lifted her face from her pillow
since first she had buried it there, though the vio
lence of her grief had long since subsided ; and so
still was she that she seemed to sleep. But the
soft influence of this gentle blessing was a stranger
to her aching eyelids. Her soul was sad and dark !
her sensitive spirit had been wounded ! the wing
of her heart was broken. Her thoughts rushed
wild and tumultuous through her brain, and her
young bosom, torn by strong emotions, heaved like
the billow when lashed by the storm. She m-ourn-
ed in the silence of her heart's depths, without sol
ace, and without hope ; condemning her own hasty
act, and, like a very woman, excusing his conduct
by every invention that her true love could find in
All at once she was disturbed by a light tap at
her door. She started suddenly, aroused from that
world of troubled thought in which she had so
long been lost to the exclusion of everything ex
ternal, and lifted her face. Her surprise was great
on seeing the moon looking in upon her, and filling
her little room with an atmosphere like floating
dust of silver. A glow of pleasure warmed her
80 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
heart, and an exclamation of delight unconsciously
escaped from her lips it was so calmly bright, so
richly beautiful ! Like a blessing sent from heav
en, the sweet moonlight fell upon her soul, and all
the softer and holier sympathies of her nature were
touched by its celestial beauty. She approached
the lattice and threw it open, forgetting the cause
that had aroused her from her mood of grief, in ad
miration of the loveliness to which she had awa
A second tap was heard at her door. She start
ed with instant consciousness ; and throwing back
from her face the cloud of raven ringlets that had
fallen about it, tried to assume a cheerful look, and
bade the applicant enter.
" I can't, cousin Kate," said the sweet voice of
Grace Fitzgerald, in a low tone ; " you have locked
Kate blushed, stammered something, she scarcely
Knew what, in excuse, and turning the key, admit
ted her mischievous cousin.
" In the dark, Kate !" exclaimed Grace, as she
" 'Twere sacrilege, cousin, to bring a lamp in
presence of this lovely moon ! Come stand by the
lattice with me," she said, throwing her arms about
her and drawing her towards her.
The fair cousins leaned together from the win
dow and looked out upon the silvery scene. There
was something in the quiet loveliness of the lawn
beneath, spangled with myriads of dewdrops like
minute fragments of diamonds ; in the deep repose
of the dark woods ; in the majesty of the ocean,
which sent its heavy, sighing sound to their ears
with every passing breeze ; in the glory of the glit
tering firmament, with the moon like a bride walk
ing in its midst, and in their own lonely situation,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 81
which the silence of the castle and the lateness of
the hour contributed to increase, to make both
silent and thoughtful.
At length a deep sigh escaped the bosom of
Kate, and Grace turned to contemplate her uncon
scious face, as with thoughtful eyes, her head rest
ing in her hand, she gazed on vacancy, evidently
thinking on subjects wholly separated from the
natural scenery before her.
"Dear Kate," said Grace, after watching for
some time in silence the sad, pale brow of her
cousin, and speaking in a tone of tender and affec
tionate sympathy ; " dear Kate, I pity you !" She
gently threw her arms about her neck as she spoke,
and, drawing her towards her, kissed her cheek.
The touching sincerity of her manner, unusual
to the merry maiden, came directly home to her
heart. She felt that she was understood ; that her
sorrow was appreciated ! She struggled with vir
gin coyness for a few seconds, and then, yielding
to her increasing emotions, threw herself into her
arms and wept there. How grateful to her full
heart to find another into which it could freely
empty itself! How happy, very happy was she,
that that heart was, of all others, her beloved cous
in's ! How unexpected her sympathy ! How
soothing, how welcome to her sad and isolated bo
som ! At length she lifted her face, and, smiling
through her tears, said, after dwelling an instant on
the lovely features of her cousin,
" You are a sweet, noble creature, Grace ! You
don't know how happy your kind sympathy has
made me ! and all so unlocked for ! Yet I know
you will think me very silly ; and I fear your nat
ural spirit will break out again, and that you will,
ere long, ridicule what you now regard with such
sweet charity !"
'82 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Believe me, Kate, I feel for you with all my
heart. I could have cried for you a dozen times
to-day, when I saw how very unhappy you look
ed !" she added, with tenderness beaming through
her deep shaded eyes.
" And yet, dear Grace, I think I never saw you
so gay, nor those little lips so rich with merry
speeches," pursued Kate, playfully tapping her rosy
lips with her ringer.
" It was for your sake, dear cousin Kate. I
saw that your feelings were wrought up to just
that point when you must either laugh or cry, and
one as easy for you to do as the other ; so, trem
bling lest, in spite of yourself, you should lean to
wards the tragic vein, I did my little best to make
" You were a kind, generous creature, Grace,"
said the maiden, with a glow of grateful energy in
her manner. " I have not half known your worth,
though you have been full six months at Castle
" And now, just as you are beginning to know
what a nice, good cousin I turn out to be, I am, hey
for merry England again !"
" I cannot part with you, Grace ; my father must
sail to-morrow without you. You will stay with
me, won't you ?" she added, with sportive earnest
" I have twice delayed my departure, and poor
father will need my nursing in this recent return of
his old complaint. I fear we may not meet again
for many years. I shall then," she said, with her
usual thoughtlessness, "perhaps, find you Lady
Lester ! Forgive me, cousin Kate," she instantly
added, as she saw the expression of her face change ;
" 1 am a careless creature, to wound at one moment
where I have healed at another. But," she added,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 83
with playful assurance, " this may yet be even
as I have said ! Nay, don't shake your head so
determinedly ! Lester is not so angry that a word
from you will not bring him to your feet."
" Cousin Grace, do you know what and of whom
you are speaking ?" said Kate, startled that her feel
ings should have been so well divined ; shrinking
with maidenly shame that the strength of her love
and the weakness of her resolution should be dis
covered to her observing cousin, and involuntarily
resenting, with the impulse of a woman at such a
time, the imputation.
" Indeed I do, dear coz ! so do no injustice to
your own feelings by denying them. You will for
give Lester if I will bring him to your feet ?" she in
" Yes no that is "
''That you will. Very well. Before to-mor
row's sun be an hour old, he shall kneel there." 4
" Not for the world, Grace !" she cried, trem
bling between fear and hope ; her love struggling
with the respect due to her maidenly dignity, which
she could not but feel, still, that Lester had out
" I don't care for your words, Kate ; I know they
mean just the opposite of what you say. Robert
Lester shall kneel at your feet to-morrow morning,
and sue for pardon for his offence," she added, with
gentle stubbornness. i
" Without compromising my " she half uncon
" I shall not compromise you in the least. There
shall be no syllable of concession on your part
mentioned ; let me manage it my own way, and
see if you do not love each other the better for
" Coz !" she cried, placing her fore finger on
84 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
her mouth reprovingly, yet pleased and smiling
with the first dawnings of bright returning hope.
" I am glad to see you smile once more, and I
am resolved you shall yet be happy," added Grace,
who had shown that, beneath the light current of
gayety that usually characterized her, there was a
flow of deep and generous feeling ; and that, with
all her thoughtless levity, she was susceptible both
of the sincerest attachment and of the warmest
friendship. Her words conveyed the germe of
hope to the breast of her cousin. Her confident
manner inspired confidence ; and the happy Kate,
giving herself up to the direction of the sanguine
feelings her language and presence had caused to
spring up in her sinking heart, became all at once
a different being.
"If I am happy in the way you mean, I shall
owe it all to you," she said, kissing her. "Now
for your plan, my sweet diplomatist."
" Now for my plan, then. That Lord Robert
has gone home very angry indeed, there can be no
question. Now, when a lover is angry, justly,
with his mistress, he will be ever ready to meet
her, not only half, but the whole, of the way, to
bring about a reconciliation. When he has no
right to be angry with her, and is so foolish as to
be so, how much the more readily then will he be
brought to her feet ! There is a spice of argu
ment for you. Now, as Lord Robert has no cause
in the world to be offended with you, it follows
that he has every cause in the world to induce him
to acknowledge his offence, and ask pardon there
for on the very first opportunity. Now all that he
wants cheerfully to do this, it appears to me, is
the assurance that, after such a philippic as that
with which you were pleased to send him off, he
will be received graciously."
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 85
"But how, if I should be inclined to be gra
cious, sage cousin of mine, is Lester to know it ?"
" That will very easily be brought about, I think.
Let me see !" and she seemed to muse very pro
foundly for a few seconds. " Ha ! I have it. I
will borrow that curious locket he gave you "
" Locket, Grace Lord Robert gave me !" re
peated Kate, colouring, and looking out of the lat
tice as if some interesting object had at that mo
ment drawn her attention.
" Yes," replied Grace, dryly, and with a look of
the most provoking positiveness.
" It is no use, I see, to conceal anything from
you, mischief ! How did you know he gave it to
" Young ladies are not wont to take from their
bosoms a boughten trinket, and slyly kiss it a hun
dred times a day, and "
" Grace, Grace !" cried Kate, attempting to stop
her saucy speech.
" And sleep with it under their pillow."
" Cousin Grace !"
" I have done," she said, quietly.
"You well may be. Oh, if I do not wish you
had a lover, that I could repay you in kind !"
" Perhaps I have !" was the imperturbable re
joinder of the maiden.
"I dare say fifty whom you call so. Among
the gay Oxford gallants, the heiress of a coronet
could not be without admirers ; but oh, if I knew
only of one lover who could set that little heart of
yours a trembling !"
" You forget your locket, cousin," said the other,
" What shall be done with it, Grace ?"
" Send it to Lester, with this message : ' He who
returns this gift of love to her who sends it, shall
VOL. I. H
86 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
with love be met.'' Now is not that very pretty, and
as it should be ?"
" What a wild creature ! Would you have me
send such a message to Lester, child ? He would
think me jesting with him."
" No, never. Is it not just what you want to
say what you feel what you wish, above all
things, he should know you feel ?"
" Yes, indeed, Grace," she replied, with the most
" Then it shall go. Give me the token. Nay,
part not with it so reluctantly ; 'twill soon be back,
with a prize worth a thousand of it. Give it me,
coz. Nay, then, kiss it ! and so will I."
" No, you shall not !" cried Kate, with laughing
" Oh, I do hope I never shall be in love !" said
Grace, getting possession of the locket. " Here is
pencil and paper. Can you write by this moon
light ? Lovers, methinks, should write by no other
light." She spread the paper on the window as
" Write ! what do you mean, Grace ?" exclaim
ed Kate, with surprise.
" I mean for you to put down, in your nicest
hand, my gem of a message to Robert."
" Never, Grace. What will he think of me ?"
" He will think you love him very much."
" Just what I don't wish him to think," she said,
with singular decision.
" Was there ever !" cried Grace, holding up
both hands. " Well, this love is an odd thing !
What instinctive coquetry ! Like John Milton's
' All conscious of your worth,
You would be woo'd, and, not unsought, be won.'
I don't understand this disguising love under a
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 87
show of coldness seeming to hate where the heart
pants and glows with devotion. Oh, if this be love,
I'll none of it. Here is the pencil, and there is a
fair sheet, and the moon is patiently holding her
silver lamp for you ; will you write ?"
" I will, to gratify you, cousin Grace," she said,
taking the pencil and placing her fingers lightly on
the paper which lay in the window.
" To please me ! very well, be it so. Who could
have believed, a quarter of an hour ago, that I
should have had to coax you to send a line to Rob
ert Lester ! You may well hide your telltale
Kate bent her head over the gilded sheet and
began to write, or, at least, to make characters
with her pencil, when Grace, impatient at her slow
progress, looked over her shoulder and exclaimed,
" Why, what are you writing 1 Lester Robert,
Robert Lester, Robert Lester, Lester Rob ."
Kate glanced at what she had written, hastily
run her pencil through it, and said, with a mortified
" I had forgotten what to write."
" And so put down what was deepest in your
memory," said Grace, with a vexatious air. " Now
take this fair page, and write as I repeat :
" ' He who shall bring again this gift of love to
her who sends it, shall with love be met*
" Is it written ?"
" Letter for letter."
" And you will find that each letter will act as a
charm. Never so few monosyllables as I have
strung together here held so much magic."
" Who will be its bearer ?" Kate now inquired
in a lively tone.
" I will find a Mercury both sure and swift," she
said, folding the locket in the billet.
88 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
This gage d'amour was oval in shape, of plain
gold, with a chased rim, a little raised, enclosing an
azure field, on which, in exquisite enamel, were in
laid the crests of Lester and Bellamont, joined to
gether by two clasped hands : beneath was the san
" Now, coz, for one of your raven ringlets to
bind around it !"
" No, I will not, Grace !"
" Then I will tie it with a lock of my own hair,"
she said, in a sportive manner, running her fingers
through her auburn tresses ; and, selecting one that
was like a silken braid for its soft and shining tex
ture, she prepared to sever it from her temples.
"You provoking child, you will have your own
way," said Kate, shaking forward the dark cloud of
her abundant hair, and intwining her finger in a jetty
tress that rivalled the sable hue of the night swal
low's dark and glossy wing.
" Half an hour since you verily would have
parted with every lock to be assured the sacrifice
would bring him to you ; and now, forsooth, scarce
ly will you part with a strand to bind a note. There !"
she added, clipping a beautiful ringlet that Kate
had selected from the rest ; " now all that is want
ed is wax no, not that ! I will fasten it with a true-
lover's-knot, which will be far better ; will it not,
As she said this she looked up with a bright
light dancing in her dark hazel eyes ; and, with
out waiting for a reply, in a few seconds tied, with
great gravity, the mysterious knot she had men
tioned, and gave the billet to her cousin for the
superscription. "Write, 'These: to the hands of
Robert, Lord Lester, of Castle More, greeting,' " she
said, with gravity.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 89
" Nay, I will direct it simply ' Lester, Castle
More,'" she said, decidedly.
" By which," said Grace, laughing, " you avoid
the distant respect conveyed in my own on the one
hand, and the tenderness that is ready to gush from
your heart on the other. Love certainly does make
his votaries skilful tacticians ! Truly, now, is not
this a proper love-billet written in a lattice by the
light of the moon, and tied with a braid of the lady's
hair in a true-love-knot? Well, when I am in
love I shall know how to manage rightly all these
" Who is to be our Mercury on this occasion ?"
inquired Kate, with a little doubt in the tones of her
voice. " I fear we shall have to trust it to a moon
" Something more substantial, I assure you," said
the good-humoured maiden, in a very positive man
" Not one of the menials, for the world !"
" No, no !" she answered, with quickness ; and
then approaching her cousin's ear, she pronounced,
very mysteriously, the very homely monosyllable,
" Mark !"
" That proud boy ! He become the bearer of a
message to Lester !" she exclaimed, looking at her
" For me he will !" replied Grace, confidently.
" Two such spirits to come in contact ! No, no !
Have you forgotten how they parted to-day ?"
" Then why do you propose so wild a scheme ?"
" Mark will do as I bid him," she said, with a
naive and pertinaciousness that was wholly irresist
Kate burst into such a merry, musical peal
of laughter, that at first the maiden looked very
90 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
grave, but at length found it in vain to withhold
her sympathy, and laughed wilh her ; while the rich
blood mounted to her cheeks, and invested her with
" Oh, oh !" cried Kate, triumphantly, " so you
are a very little in love ! I half guessed it ! Doubt
less there is blood enough in thy noble veins for
both of you."
" Very well, cousin, you may think what you
choose," she replied ; adding, in a tone and man
ner that left her cousin in doubt if she were not
half in earnest, " but if I were in love with him, is
he not noble in person ? handsome, gallant, and
brave ? Why may he not be worthy a noble maid
en's love ? I would not give him as he is, for Les
ter, with all his nobility, coupled as it is with his
" Out upon you, jade," said Kate, good-humour-
edly ; " will you revile in this vein my noble Les
ter compare him to a fisher's lad ? Where is your
pride of birth and rank, Grace Fitzgerald ! Really,
I should not wonder if, with your levelling notions,
you should some day throw yourself away upon
some one unworthy to wear so fair and rich a flower
in his bosom."
" I have both wealth and rank, and shall be my
own mistress soon ! that I will give my hand where
my heart goes, you may rest assured, cousin Kate,"
said the maiden, with spirited, yet sportive decis
" Marry come up ! I shall not wonder if I come
to be cousin to a cordwainer's 'prentice yet ! I
shall assuredly allow you to go to the good old
earl, your father, to-morrow, and shall not fail to
bid him, in a letter, to lock you up."
" Love laughs at locksmiths, you have heard it
said, cousin. But a truce to this. I am not yet
: > : : .''..; :
THE WIZABD OF THE SEA. 91
in love, so be not alarmed. I will sally forth and
find Mark, and at once despatch him with this mes
sage to Castle More."
As she spoke she threw a cloak over her shoulders
and prepared to envelop her head and face in its
hood. At this crisis Kate's troubled countenance
indicated a wavering purpose; and as Grace was
fastening the hood beneath her chin, she laid her
hand on her arm :
" No, Grace, you must not. Lester will scorn
me ; let him go for ever first !" she added, in a sad,
irresolute tone of voice.
" No, no ! In ten minutes afterward you would
be playing Niobe. Have your feelings towards
Lester changed an iota ?"
" No ; but"
" Yet you know not, if you delay, how his may
change, nor what rash act he may commit !"
" I will send the token," she said, after a mo
" I will soon return with news of my success,"
she said, placing her hand on the latch of the door.
" Go, then, quickly ! But you will not venture
to the beach alone ?"
" 'Tis light as noonday ! A step across the lawn,
and a short trip down the path, and old Meredith's
hut is within a stone's throw. I will not be three
" I must certainly go with you, Grace."
"Not for the world!"
" Lest I interrupt the tender moonlight interview
you have in prospect with the handsome fisher
man, I dare say. Ah, you arch girl ! I verily
believe you have an eye to your own interests,
which accounts for your devotion to me in this mat
ter," said Kate, laughing, and shaking her head at
92 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
" A fisher's lad !" she repeated, in the slightly
scornful tone her cousin had hitherto used.
" Nay, I was not in earnest, Grace," said Kate,
apologetically, kissing her as she was leaving the
" Nor was I," replied the lively maiden. " Watch
me from the opposite window as I cross the lawn.
Courage, dear cousin ! You will soon have Les
ter at your feet, and be folded in his "
" Go !" cried the blushing Kate, closing the door
upon her ere she could finish her sentence.
She listened to her light footstep echoing through
the hall till it was lost on the lawn ; then turning
to her window, she shortly afterward discovered
her gliding across the archery-field towards the
cliff, and, with a wave of her hand towards the lat
tice, rapidly descend the path that led to the beach.
With her heart fluttering with mingled hopes,
fears, and desires, she sat watching in the win
dow for her return. Her thoughts the while were
busy. She followed, in imagination, the message
to Castle More ; pictured Lester's reception of the
token ; fancied his surprise, his rapture, perhaps
his scornful indifference ! No ! she would not
believe he could feel this, for she judged his truth
by her own ! Then, in her imagination, she heard
his loud and hasty demand for his horse ! she could
see him on his swift course towards Castle Cor.
He approaches ! she can almost hear his horse's
hoofs in the court ! the next moment he is kneeling
at her feet for forgiveness ! Wonderful power of
the imagination ! How delightful to yield the soul
to its influences when the images it paints on the
mind are all pleasing ; all as vivid as the reality
of which they are only the shadows ! While the
meditative maiden is leaning from her lonely lattice,
indulging her happy visions, the mind naturally
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 93
turns to the adventurous Grace and the young
fisher's lad, who was to become the bearer of the
message which should be the magical instrument
of converting all these delightful dreams into re
After the attack upon his life by the impetuous
noble, taking advantage of the exciting scene that
followed between him and Kate Bellamont, Mark
quietly withdrew from the party, gained, unob
served, the path, and was out of sight, far down
the cliff, before his absence was discovered. He
had remained long enough, however, to witness the
disgrace of Lester, and to hear the indignant and
bitter words of the offended maiden. With a fleet
foot he reached the beach, hastened along the
shore to his cot, and, crossing its lonely threshold,
cast himself upon a block by the hearth, and bu
ried his face between his hands. His heart
heaved strongly, and he seemed to labour under
deep and great emotion. It was clearly appa
rent that he was undergoing a severe mental strug
gle, and that the tide of his life would turn on the
issue. At length he lifted his fine face and looked
around upon the interior of his humble home;
poverty and its signs met his eye wherever it fell !
His glance then rested on his own coarse habili
ments, and he started to his feet, and with a lofty
expression of resolution and an air of stern decision,
said, half aloud,
"This day shall end my servitude to poverty.
Because the accident of birth has cast my lot with
in these wretched walls, and made me fellow-pris
oner with penury, therefore shall I not throw off
my chains when I will? Have I not a soul a
mind ? Do I not think, feel, act, speak, like those
whom men call noble ? May I not, in spite of
nature, yet become the builder of my own name
94 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
the carver of my own fortunes ? By the light of
the bright sun, I will no longer be the slave of oth
ers ! the 'lowborn serf the 'humble fisher's lad'
the peasant, hind, and what not, that means base
ness of birth and degradation of soul ! No ; hence
forth I will take my place among the highest of
them all, or leave my bones to bleach on the sand !"
He paced the bare ground-floor of the wretched
shed for a few moments with an energy of tread
and a determined air that well harmonized with
his words. At length he stopped short in his ex
cited walk; his face assumed a gentler aspect;
and in a voice low and melancholy, he continued,
"And this beauteous being, whose bright form
fills my dreams like a celestial visitant; who is in
all my thoughts ; whom to gaze upon at an humbfa
distance is bliss ; whose voice strangely thrills my
soul : her, for whom I would lay down my life !
whom to make happy I would forego all earthly,
ay, future hopes of happiness, I am forbidden to
love! I cannot gaze on her without reproof! I
am denied the bliss of speaking to her and lis
tening to the music of her voice in reply ; of attend
ing her in her walks ; of sharing in her pursuits
and pleasures, because I am lou^born. Yes, I am
' the poor fisher's lad !' and scarce deemed worthy to
be her footman. My approach into her presence
is rudeness ! my adoring gaze vulgar impertinence !
/ am the fisher's lad ! 'Tis not for such to love
such a glorious creature ! Though his heart may
be of the noblest mould ; his taste refined ; his
spirit proud ; his nature lofty and aspiring, yet
he may not love where love points him. 'Tis not
for him to place his' affections on the gentle and
lovely : on those worthy of his heart's deep devo
tion, and to whom he can distribute the rich treasure
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 95
of his love. He must degrade his pure and sacred
passion by linking his fate with one of his own
class, who may never appreciate him ; or let his
wealth of love exhaust itself on his own life, and
consume it with its fire ! Nevertheless," he added,
with a sparkling eye, " the fisher's boy dares to love,
and love high! Love knows no rank. I have
placed my affections on a noble object, my gaze on
a lofty eyry and never will I clip the wing that
once has taken so high and bold a flight. I love
her ! highborn as she is, I have dared to send my
thoughts up to her ! Yet, alas !" he continued,
moodily folding his arms on his breast, and speaking
slowly and bitterly, " alas ! what shall this avail ?
Will she requite the daring love of a peasant ?
Will she not scorn will she not laugh at me ?
Will she listen to the deep outpourings of my pas
sion ? No, no, no! She must mate with her
mates, and she would bid me mate with mine !
Yet, may I not rise above my condition," he ex
claimed, with a glowing brow and flashing eye ;
" may I not win rank and name that shall make
me worthy of her ? Shall I stand here idle, and
see this haughty Lester bear away a prize of which
he is no more worthy than I ? No, I will perish
first. From this day I am a man ! Henceforth
I belong to no degree, no rank. I am to choose
what I will be. This hour I burst the degrading
fetters that chain me to the class in which birth
has cast me. From this moment I am the archi
tect of my own fortune, and I will erect a temple
that men shall admire, or bury myself beneath its
ruins ! The sea, on which I have been cradled, is
open before me like a mother's bosom, welcoming
me to its embrace ; and on it, with the aid of God
and my own spirit, I will win a name that shall hide
the humble one I wear, and under it yet lay at the
96 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
feet of her, who would scorn me under my present
one, laurels that shall have made me worthy of her
As he concluded his cheek was flushed ; his
eye sparkling ; his step rapid and firm ; his counte
nance elevated and glowing ; and he strode the lit
tle cabin as if he was for the moment all that he
had resolved to be. He was so lost in his feel
ings, so wrapped in the noble vision of the future
his ambitious and ardent mind had pictured, that
the old fisherman, who had slowly followed him
from the cliff, entered without attracting his notice.
The aged man gazed on the animated and excited
youth with astonishment, and for a few moments
was silent from surprise. At length he called him
by name. He started, and was for the first time
sensible that he was not alone :
" Well !" was the short, stern response.
" Do you know who speaks to you, my boy ?"
asked the old man, with mild reproof.
" Yes I do, my good father," he said, instantly
resuming his wonted kindness of manner, and ta
king his hand ; " forgive me ; I had forgotten my
"Do not be angry, child, at this freak of my
young lord," said the old fisherman, in a tone ha
bitual to his class in speaking of those above them ;
"it was but a little outbreak of spirit; and you
know it is not for the like of us to be angry at the
nobility for such things. They are our lords, and
we must do as they will."
" And let them take my life ay, if they will,
make me their slave, which is far worse ! Never !
'Tis the language of a bondman you utter, and un
worthy the lips of manhood !"
" You talk as if you was one of the quality, boy !
You will find it different when you get to be as old
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 97
as I am. I have put up with many wrongs in my
day from gentle blood."
"And have not resented it?" demanded the
youth, with spirit.
" What could a poor fisherman do ? Is it not
their right to act what they will to? We poor
fishermen have only to pray to God to give them
gentle wills towards us !"
" And is this the creed you would teach me ?
Debasing, grovelling, mean obedience to the tyr
anny of an order ! Before I do it, may my hand
wither at the shoulder, my tongue palsy in my
mouth ! I should indeed deserve to be a slave !
You would forbid me to resent this wrong from this
hotheaded young noble ?"
" It will do thee no good ; if thou shouldst take
his life, thou would st hang for't."
"And, if he should take mine ?"
" There would be none to avenge thee, boy.
The judges, who are always on the side of the great,
would say thy life was forfeited because thou
hadst lifted thy hand against one of the privileged."
" God ! I cannot believe that all men do spring
from Adam and Eve," exclaimed the youth, impet
uously. " Father," he said, after a moment's si
lence, speaking in a tone of mingled shame and
sorrow, " thou hast, fortunately, a spirit fitted to
thy station I pity thee ! For myself, I will be no
man's serf, no lord's menial ! If accident has
made me almost on a level with the brute, nature
has endowed me with the feelings of a man. Fa
ther, I leave you with to-morrow's sun."
" My child ! my child ! what evil hath taken pos
session of thee ?" cried the old man, holding him
by both hands.
" No evil, but good ! To-morrow I go from
you !" he replied, resolutely.
VOL. I. I
98 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
"And leave me destitute in my old age, my
The youth was touched more by the accent in
which this was said than by the words. He bu
ried his face in his hands and groaned aloud ; then,
with a sudden burst of filial affection, he cried,
throwing himself upon his aged breast,
" No, no ! I will bend my neck to every insult,
rather than thou, my more than father, shouldst be
" Thou wilt not go away ?" reiterated the old
man, pleadingly, as if doubting the sincerity of his
"Not while thou art spared to me, beloved
grandsire. Thou hast protected my infancy and
youth ! been to me both father and mother. If I
be not a faithful son to thee, and protect not thy
old age, may I fail to attain the rank and honour
among men to which I aspire, and which, if pur
chased at the expense of filial gratitude, I should be
unworthy to wear !"
" Bless thee, bless thee, Mark !" said he, fondly
embracing him. " Providence has made our lot a
humble one ; let us submit to it with obedience.
Come, my boy, think no more of it, but launch the
skiff, and bring home our evening meal from the
vast storehouse that has ever fed us, and which
never holds its life even from the undeserving. Go,
my son : on the rocking wave, and in the silence
of the lone deep, your heart will become calm, and
peace will return to your soul. At such times it
is that the good and devout Christian is the most
happy ! I sometimes think the holy apostles did
owe much of the holy piety which they possessed
to their lowly occupation of fishers."
" They were Christians. You are a Christian,
father ! I am not one save in name. Would to
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 99
God I were ! perhaps I then might bear my hum
ble lot more calmly. Now farewell a while ; I
will be in again ere the moon rises."
He rushed from the cabin with his heart almost
bursting in his breast, launched his little bark,
hoisted the frail latteen sail, and committed himself
to the deep.
Seated in the narrow stern of his fragile skiff, the
thwarts and bottom of which were covered with
fishing-lines, a dip-net, and other signs of his lowly
pursuit, holding the rude tiller in one hand and the
sheet of his narrow white sail in the other, he shot
swiftly out from the shore, wafted by a light and
fitful wind. From habit he steered his course,
and shifted the sail from side to side to woo the
baffling airs, without giving his thoughts to his oc
cupation. His lips were compressed with thought,
his brow was set, and every feature of his silent
face was eloquent with the feelings that occupied
his bosom. His mind was struggling between
filial affection and ambition between love for the
highborn maiden and duty to his grandsire. The
sufferings of the latter, who looked to his labours
for his daily bread, were, if he should desert him,
present and positive. The hopes connected with
the former were altogether future and uncertain.
Should he inflict a present evil for a future good ?
Would his filial attachment compare with his love ?
Which should he sacrifice ? He felt that he could
not make his grandsire the victim, either of his love
or of his ambition, without the forfeiture of that fil
ial virtue, wanting which he would be unworthy the
prize he should incur this penalty to obtain. His
thoughts became insupportable ; and, for a time,
he was nearly wrought up to phrensy by the inten
sity of the mental conflict. At this crisis, while
his eyes were fixed vacantly on the crisp waves as
100 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
they went singing and rippling past him, his bosom
far more disturbed than they, he was startled by a
loud, quick hail.
" Boat ahoy ! Helm-a-starboard, or you will be
into us !"
He mechanically obeyed ; and, as he looked up,
saw the dark hull of the yacht, that had lain all day
at anchor in the bay, within reach of his hand,
while his boat was gliding safely along its side,
directly against which he had been unconsciously
"You must keep a look-out, lad, how you run
aboard a king's yacht, or you will stand a chance of
getting a shot in your locker !" said a gruff, yet
good-humoured voice. " But you have a quick
ear and ready hand to clear our counter as you did.
What say you to serving his majesty, my lad ?
It's better than catching herring ; arid, then, many's
the younker of your inches that's come in over the
cat-head, and afterward walked the quarter-deck
with a brace of gold bobs on his shoulders."
The young fisherman's ears greedily received
every word ; they struck a chord within his bosom
that strongly vibrated again. Involuntarily he put
his helm down, and brought his boat up into the
wind. He looked longingly upon the vessel's
deck ; measured the beautiful and light proportions
of her hull, and surveyed with delight the graceful
spars, following them with his eye to their tapering
tops, from which gay flags streamed in the breeze :
he admired, apparently with all a seaman's gratifi
cation, the tracery and interlacing of the neatly-set
rigging, and the snowy sails, some of which were
hanging in festoons from the yards, while one or two
lazily spread their broad white fields from yard to
yard : he observed the neat appearance of the men ;
their happy faces ; their frank, good-humoured
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 101
manners : he thought over the blunt but kindly
offer he had received, and his hopes whispered,
" Fortune has opened this way for me ! my des
tiny must be linked with this vessel !"
He then thought of his father, and his head drop
ped despondingly on his bosom ; he thought of
Kate Bellamont, and his eyes sparkled, and he felt
like bursting all filial ties and leaping at once on
" What say you, my lad, will you ship ?" said the
man, observing his hesitation ; " I'll give you ten
rix-dollars as bounty."
" Now ?" he eagerly asked, starting up in his
boat, and extending his hands with intense earnest
" The instant you enter your name on the yacht's
" I will go with you."
" Done ! come alongside."
Mark hesitated ere he obeyed. Ten rix-dollars
had, at first, seemed to him an inexhaustible sum :
a moment's reflection convinced him that it would
not support his grandfather six months without la
bour, for which he was nearly unfitted on account
of his age. If, he thought, at the end of six months,
therefore, he should not be able to return to him, or
if his own life should be lost in the interim, would
not the misery and want such an event would entail
upon him fall heavy to his charge ?
All this passed through his mind as he drew aft
the tack and pressed the tiller up to windward to
run under the vessel's bows. Instantly he shifted
his helm, let the sheet fly free to the wind, and
shot suddenly away in the opposite direction.
" He's off with a flowing sheet !" said one of the
" He's gone to bid the old man good-by," cried
102 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
another ; " he'll be alongside before morning, kit
" He's gone to take leave of his lass," added a
third. " A wise lad to anchor his last night ashore."
" I wouldn't lose him for six months' pay," said
the captain of the forecastle, who had first hailed
him ; " but I am afraid we shall see no more of
him than what he now shows us," he added, sha
king his head, and turning to pace the deck.
Scarce hearing, and heedless of these character
istic remarks, the young fisherman kept on his
course seaward till he had got a league from the
land, when he hove to and lowered his sail ; then
baiting and casting his lines, he plied his humble
task, his eyes the while often fixed on the distant
towers of Castle Cor, and his thoughts now with
its fair inmate, now brooding over his own lowly
destiny. When at length the sun dipped the edge
of his burnished shield into the sea, he for the last
time drew in his lines, each heavy with a fish,
hoisted his sail, flung it broad to the evening wind
that blew gently landward, and, taking the helm,
steered towards home. But the wind grew lighter,
and soon came only at intervals in " cat's-paws ;"
his progress was therefore slow, and he was yet a
mile from the land when it left his sail altogether.
Night came on, and the moon rose above the bat
tlements of the castle, and flung its scarf of sil
ver far out upon the scarcely dimpled bay. From
time to time he held his open palm to windward,
in vain trying to catch a passing current. He
threw back the dark curls that clustered about
his forehead, and laid it bare to receive the faint
est breath that might promise the return of the
wind. But the air was motionless ! His boat
rose and fell on the glassy undulations, but moved
not towards the shore, save by the slow landward
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 103
heave of the sea. Springing upon the thwarts, he
brailed up his sail and bound it to the mast, and
then, bending to the slender oars, sent his light skiff
over the water with a speed that mocked the idle
winds. He soon got within the dark shadow flung
by the cliff along the water far beyond the land,
and run his boat on the beach beside his cot. The
old fisherman welcomed him with a kindness that
not only touched his heart, but rewarded him for
the sacrifice he had made on his account. He also
assisted him in conveying the fish into the hut, and
set about himself to prepare their rude repast.
Mark placed his oars in the beckets over the door,
and walked out to indulge his thoughts; to brood
over his deferred, if not blasted hopes ; and to
struggle again and again against the unfilial temp
tations that assailed him. He insensibly wandered
along the beach, that sparkled in the moonlight
like snow beneath his feet, until he came to the nar
row strip of sand that stretched beneath the over
hanging cliff from which he had leaped, and con
nected his hut with the path up the rocks. He
looked up to its dark and terrific roof, and then
down into the black pool at his feet, and a half-
formed wish that he had never risen again from its
silent depths, escaped him.
" That I had perished, ere life had been pre
served to be dragged out in this miserable servi
tude," he said aloud. "What is life to me? Its
refined joys ; its courtly pleasures ; its fair forms ;
its wealth ; its honours ! This is my world these
slimy rocks this lonely bay ; yonder hut my
palace, and to fish for daily sustenance my pastime.
This is my life this my universe ! What have I
to do with aught beyond it ? The world was made
for others, not for me not for the peasant boy !
104 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
No, no ! Madness ! Must I endure this ?" he
cried, with fierce impatience. " Filial love, filial
gratitude, how bitter, bitter are ye !"
He struck his forehead violently, and turned on
the belt of sand with a fevered step. Suddenly he
felt a touch on his shoulder, as light as if a fairy's
foot had lit upon it. He started, and, turning quick
ly round, beheld a female, enveloped in a hood and
cloak, standing immediately behind him. The
grace of her attitude, and the easy decision of her
whole manner, assured him that she was not low
born. His heart would have whispered the name
that was enshrined in it, but the figure was not tall
enough for hers. With an instinctive conscious
ness that he was in the presence of rank and beauty,
to which, in this union, his independent spirit never
refused to do homage, he doffed his cap, and ad
dressed her with that native grace and dignity
which characterized him :
" Lady, seek you aught in which I can aid you,
that you have come to the seaside at this lonely
The moon shone full on his youthful features,
which were shaded with locks of dark-flowing
hair, parted across his high, pale forehead, and de
scending to his shoulder. She gazed for an in
stant, ere she replied, on his youthful face, on each
lineament of which his bold character was written,
while his ardent spirit spoke eloquently in every
look. As he bent forward to catch her answer,
with his bonnet in his hand, the cloud had vanished
from his brow before the supposed presence of
youth and beauty, and his deferential manner, so
opposite to his former bearing, seemed to inspire
her with confidence.
'* My business is with you alone, Mark !" spoke,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 105
from beneath the shaded hood, the sweet, hesitating
voice of Grace Fitzgerald, intuitively shrinking
within the shadow of the cliff as she addressed
him, just out of which, in the full light of the moon,
the young fisherman himself stood.
" Lady Grace !" he exclaimed, with surprise, as
her voice fell on his ear.
" Grace Fitzgerald, in body and spirit," said she,
with her usual gayety.
" Can the highborn heiress of Earl Fitzgerald be
served by one so humble ?" he asked, in a tone
slightly tinged with his former gloomy humour.
She seemed to be at a loss, for a moment, how
to reply, scarcely knowing in what way to inter
pret his words. At length she said, advancing
frankly towards him,
"I have not come to command your services,
Mark, but to beg of you a favour; to ask you to
execute a mission of delicacy, that can be intrusted
to no one so well as yourself."
The frank and kind manner in which she spoke,
the graceful propriety with which she overstepped
the barrier of caste that separated them, sensibly
affected him. It was the first time he had been
so addressed by those above him in birth and sta
tion ; the first time his services had not been de
manded as a right by those who needed them.
Her suavity and condescension of manner were
perhaps prompted by the remembrance of the out
rage he had received at Lester's hands, and by a
knowledge of his intrepidity, and of his pride of
spirit, which she knew to be chafed and goaded
by the insults inseparable from his station. She
therefore generously wished to sooth and bind up
his injured feelings. She had, too, her own notions
of what constitutes true nobility ; and it is plain,
106 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
from her conversation with Kate, that she was less
governed by the social canons which regulate such
things, and was infinitely more of a democrat than
her haughty and beautiful cousin. That her heart
had anything to do in the matter, though Mark
was so handsome, so gentle, and so brave withal,
cannot be supposed ; inasmuch as the little god
seldom ensconces himself behind a peajacket to
take aim at a heart mailed beneath a silken spencer.
But, then, Cupid is very blind, and, besides, is so
given to odd whims, that but little calculation can
be made as to the direction from which his shafts
" Command me. lady," he replied, with grateful
emotion, as she concluded.
" Are you angry with Lord Robert ?" she asked,
" Can I forgive him ?"
" But you will forgive him foi for the sake
of my cousin Kate!"
" If she were to bid me kiss his hand, I would not
refuse her," he exclaimed, with a sudden glow of
Grace sighed, and was for a moment silent ; for
she plainly saw that her influence had but little
weight in this quarter in comparison with her cous
in's. She then took the locket from the folds of
her cloak, and said, in a very slightly mortified tone,
" It is her wish that you bear this token of her
forgiveness to Lord Robert. You will see that it
is tied with a braid of her own hair /"
(Was there not a spice of feminine pique in this
last clause, lady ?)
" Bear this from her to him . ? " he inquired, in a
voice trembling with emotion.
" Never !" replied he, with vehemence.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 107
"Mark!" she said, in a tone of gentle reproof,
placing her hand lightly upon his arm.
" Pardon me," he said, hastily, " but but "
His voice choked for utterance. " Oh God ! Lady
Grace," he suddenly cried, with an outbreak of ter
rible and ungovernable emotion, " you know not
what it is to be to be " Here his feelings were
too strong to be controlled, and, turning his face
from her, he gave way to a paroxysm of the wildest
She stood by in silence ! She appreciated fully
his feelings, for she had overheard the soliloquy he
gave utterance to before he had become aware of
her presence. She knew what he was and what
he aspired to be, and how deeply his degrada
tion preyed upon him. She sympathized with
him with her whole heart; and with her sympa
thy there entered into her breast another emotion,
which in woman's heart is so nearly allied to love,
namely, gentle pity ! When she saw that the first
strong tide of his feelings had in some degree sub
sided, in a voice so full of what she felt that it
touched all the finer sensibilities of his nature, and
seemed to breathe peace throughout his soul, still
ing every billow of passion, she said to him,
" Mark, I do pity you from my heart ! I know
you are not fitted by nature for the state to which
you were born. But to the bold spirit and deter
mined will there is a wide road open to distinction ;
and in it men, humble as yourself, have won hon
ourable renown, in the splendour of which the mere
accident of their birth has been lost. The same
road to honour lies open before you !"
The vivid eloquence, the animation of voice, the
spirited manner, and the lofty energy of look with
which this was spoken, united with the depth and
sincerity of her interest in him, which she disdained
108 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
to disguise, language can inadequately express.
Its effect on him was electrical. He sprang for
ward, knelt at her feet, seized her hand, and, in
the fulness of his heart, pressed it gratefully to his
lips. She withdrew it in confusion, and he in
stantly buried his face in his hands, overcome with
the painful feeling of having offended. She was
the first to speak.
" Mark, bear this packet to Lord Robert ; de
liver it into his own hand, and immediately leave
him, so that you give him no opportunity of renew
ing his feud. In the morning, on the earl's return
from Kinsale, come to the castle, and I will repre
sent your case to him."
" Dear lady, I will leave this message for you at
Castle More ; but pardon me if I decline your of
fer to serve me !"
" Then cousin Kate shall make it," she said,
" Forgive me, but it will be still more firmly de
Grace was puzzled; and half sportively, half
sincerely, it entered her thoughts that she had
played her hand well if already, as his words
seemed to imply, she had found more favour in the
young fisherman's eyes than her cousin. But, all
at once, the thought flashed upon her mind that it
was alone the pride of love that led him to refuse
any favour at her cousin's hands.
" You mean," she said in revenge, smiling as she
spoke, " that you dislike my cousin Kate so much
that you will not receive any kindness at her
" If such could be inferred from my words, I re
call every letter of them," he said, with an ear
nestness that amused her.
" I will then speak for you to my uncle."
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA, 109
" Lady, you will think me very ungrateful," he
replied, " but"
" But you will take no favour from the father of
Kate Bellamont. Really, my cousin is compli
He was embarrassed by the light in which she
seemed to take his words, and, in attempting to ex
plain, involved himself still deeper,
" Do not be distressed ; I perfectly understand
you, Mark," she said, with a laugh that relieved
him. " Will you be obliged to me ?"
" Pardon me if I say no !" he answered, grate
fully but firmly. " No, lady," he added, in a grate*
ful tone of voice, yet sadly, "I must work out
brighter fortunes for myself by my own energies."
" I admire your independence. But, if you should
need my I would say, the assistance of any one-
will you remember Grace Fitzgerald ?"
He did not reply ; his heart was swelling, but
he laid his hand upon his bosom with an eloquent
gesture that conveyed more than words.
" Enough !" she said, touched with his impres
sive manner. " I shall ever be ready to do for you
all that can advance you to name and rank ; and
for your own sake, for the sake of " here she
paused with embarrassment, and then added, " those
who take an interest in you, it becomes you to rise
from this humble station, and win for yourself a
name and station among men. Do not forget that
the proudest names in England sprang from the
lowest rank. My own maternal ancestor was a
favourite groom of William the Conqueror, who,
for his prowess in a certain battle, knighted and
parcelled out to him an equal division of land with
his own knightly companions in arms. Shall I not
yet hear of you with pride ?" she added, extending
her hand to him with characteristic frankness.
VOL. I. K
110 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Lady," he said, with animation, " if ever a low
born youth, who would rise above his adverse for
tunes, had cause to go forward, have I. The mem
ory of your words will shine like a star of hope
to guide me through the future. God help me !
Lady Grace, you shall never blush with shame
for him in whose fate you this night have shown
an interest," he continued, with emotion. "For
your sake I will achieve whatever man can ac
" And will you do nothing for my poor cousin's
sake ?" she asked, significantly, and in a tone of
raillery, not able, even at such a time, to subdue
altogether her natural temperament.
" There is little hope that one so humble is ever
in her thoughts," he replied, doubting, yet half be
" Little hope, I fear, while Lester lives," she
said, smiling. " But think not of her think not of
love now," continued she, with animation ; " let hon
our be your idol, and woo fame alone as your bride.
There are some there is one, Mark, who would
rather see you honoured and ennobled by your own
hand than than but no matter, I have already
said too much. Kate will have good reason to
suspect I had cause to come alone," she said, men
tally, "if I linger here longer;" she then added
" Fly, Mark, with this message. If you would
serve me, bear it safely ; if you would do my cousin
Kate a favour, bear it quickly ; and, lastly, for your
own sake, get into no quarrel."
They had insensibly walked along while speak
ing, and were now at the foot of the path by which
she had descended to the beach.
Mark took the packet from her hand, and, as he
did so, pressed it with an air of native gallantry
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. Ill
blended with gratitude, greatly to her not unpleas-
urable surprise and confusion, and then hastened
at a rapid pace along the beach in the direction of
Castle More. She followed him for a few mo
ments with her eyes, and then, sighing uncon
sciously (for it is in vain longer to disguise the in
terest she felt in the interesting fisher's lad), as
cended the steep path and safely gained the castle,
where, still at her lattice waiting her return, she
found her cousin, to whom forthwith she commu
nicated her success.
With a swift tread Mark traversed the curving
shore till he had left a full league between him 'and
the spot where he had separated from Grace Fitz
gerald. Then striking into a path that led inland,
he followed it with undiminished speed, and with a
light and confident step, that showed his familiari
ty with every intricate winding of his moonlit, way.
How often he pressed to his adoring lips the
locket of hair that secured the billet ; how often he
paused to read over and over again, by the light of
the moon, the delicate characters traced by the
pencil her fingers had guided, let each one that
has loved enumerate for himself. As he went
along, he could not help revolving in his mind the
manner of Grace Fitzgerald, and asking himself a
hundred times if she could mean anything; and
when it could not be concealed from his penetra
ting mind that she did mean something, or affected
to do so the wish rose to his lips that Kate Bel-
lamont had been in her place. Yet the very next
moment, so contradictory is love, he congratulated
himself that she was not, feeling that he should
never have had the courage to meet her face to
face alone, as he had met her cousin. Love sure
ly endows his votaries with a singular union of
boldness and timidity ! Your lover is either an ar-
112 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
rant coward or a lion, and sometimes he is both in
one, as he happens to be in or out of his mistress's
At length he came in sight of an ancient and ex
tensive ruin in the midst of the forest, and was
picking his way among the fallen fragments, along
which his road wound, when he was startled by the
sound of horses' feet coming from the direction of
Castle More ; the moment afterward, he saw, by
the light of the moon, two horsemen emerge from
the wood, and rapidly approach the ruin. He in
stinctively drew to one side of the path to escape
observation, when he heard one of them utter an
exclamation of surprise ; both then suddenly reined
up, and, from the sound of a third voice, they ap
peared to be holding conversation with some one
they had unexpectedly encountered.
*' Away, away my steed and I
Upon the pinions of the wind !"
" Thou false fiend, thou liest !
I do defy deny spurn back and scorn ye !"
" That thus a son should stand and hear
The tale of his disgrace."
THE indignant Lester, to whom Vhe story now
reverts, had no sooner left the presence of Kate
Bellamont and the field of archery, than he has
tened to the stables, saddled his horse with his own
hand, and threw himself across his back. Then,
turning his head northward towards Castle More,
he gave him the rein, and, without forming any
definite aim or object, but goaded onward simply
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 113
by the fiery impetus of his feelings, with a feverish
desire to leave far behind the scene of his disgrace,
rode away at full speed.
His thoughts were dark and confused ; his heart
full ; his spirit sore ! He looked neither to the
right nor left, and gave backward glance to turret
nor lattice for he was all unskilled in that book of
riddles, woman's heart ! and what hope then had
he, that he should turn his head for beck or signal
of return ? If he had been a little more experi
enced, or somewhat better read in this book of
mysteries, where every line of the text is contradict
ed by a page of annotations, he might have known
that a signal would have been flying for him at
the very last moment ! But, alas for poor Kate
Bellamont ! alas for both ! her voice, and the wave
of her snowy arm were alike in vain ! He rode
onward, seeing, feeling, being conscious of nothing
save his own deep disgrace and misery ; and at
each fierce pang that reflection inflicted, he buried
his spurs deep, and dashed forward as if he would
fly from his thoughts, or find relief from them in
The forest into which he rode, and in the depths
of which he disappeared from the earnest gaze of
Kate Bellamont, was very ancient and of great ex
tent, and intersected by many roads winding in all
directions through its dark bosom : it was inhabited
chiefly by woodsmen and foresters, but contained,
besides, two solitary hunting-lodges, a league asun
der, appertaining to the contiguous estates of Bel
lamont and Castle More. At the northern termi
nation of this wood, two leagues distant from Castle
Cor, on the crest of a rock that overhung a small
woodland lake or mere, was situated Castle More ;
a single square tower, with a low turret rising at
each angle, and defended on the inland side by a
114 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
high wall with bastions and a deep moat. It was,
at the date of this narrative, the abode of Lady Les
ter, the widow of General Lord Lester, who had
fallen a few years before while gallantly fighting
in Spain. Since his death she had withdrawn
herself from the sphere of the court, and excluded
herself almost altogether from society; devoting
her time to the performance of the severe religious
duties usually imposed by the Catholic church
only on religieuses, and to the observance of rigor
ous and frequent fasts ; and it was rumoured that
she even inflicted upon herself painful penance
with rods, and slept through Lent in a crown of
thorns. In these austerities her friends, and, also,
sensible and discreet people, saw only the diseased
melancholy of a widowed wife who had been
fondly devoted to her departed lord, rinding relief,
as woman's sorrow often will, in a life of religious
seclusion. But the suspicious and evil disposed,
the humble labourer and marvel-loving hind, saw
in her stern religious life only painful penance for
crimes committed in early life, and were wont to
shake their heads and lower their voices whenever
the "Dark Lady of the Rock" was named.
But, notwithstanding her austere life, Lady Les
ter was not indifferent J,o the claims of young Lord
Robert. Her heart had been wrapped up in the
high-spirited boy from his childhood; and as he
grew in stature and grace, next to her graven im
ages, she worshipped him. Unrestrained by pa
ternal fear, and indulged by Lady Lester in every
idle wish, he grew up to the age of seventeen with
a spirit that never had been curbed ; with a tem
per that never had known a check. Though by
nature of a generous and noble disposition, as the
unavoidable result of such a course, he was the
slave of passion and the victim of self-impulse ;
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 115
with the will to act justly, but without the power
to guide that will : like a noble bark that has lost
its rudder and is driven furiously along by its out
spread sails, which, managed by skill and discipline,
might yet become the instruments of its safety, to
irremediable shipwreck and ruin. If educated at
all, he was taught to regard all the retainers of his
vast estates as vassals ; beings of meaner mould ;
a race of mortals who had somehow smuggled
themselves into existence long after Adam founded
his ancient family poachers on the world's ma
nor now doomed, for their punishment, to crawl
as slaves on the earth they had dared to come upon
unbidden. He was taught to regard all unnoble as
ignoble ; and to consider them as an inferior and
secondary race, and only created to be subservient
to the will of those of his caste and rank. With
such notions he became haughty and arrogant, and
cherished a spirit of pride of birth, combined with
a jealousy of his privileges, that at all times was
sufficiently prompt to show itself.
With two such opposite characters ; a generous
and just one the gift of nature ; an imperious and
haughty one the result of education, he was as
uncertain as the wind, variable as the evening
cloud. There was but one mind that could control
his ; one spirit to whose power his own would bend ;
but one voice that could act upon his passions with
a gentle influence, and, with a word, chase the
darkest cloud from his brow, even as the harp of
the youthful minstrel banished the gloomy spirit of
evil from the soul of Saul ! This potent person
was Kate Bellamont : the wand she used, Cupid's
magical bow. By its aid she brought his haughty
will in subjection to her own mild sway, and con
verted the lion into the lamb. She had been his
playfellow from childhood; they had strolled, fish
ed, hunted, boated together. Others might be in
116 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
company, but somehow Kate and Robert seemed
to be attracted to each other by a mysterious affin
ity : if they fished, he baited her hook and took off
the fish when she caught them ; if there was a
ramble, they were certain to stray off together and
lose themselves in the forest, and always were
the last back to the castle ; if there was a party to
sail on the mere, Robert and Kate were sure to be
seated near each other !
By-and-by they began to advance into their
teens : when Kate got to be fifteen, she began to
grow very shy of her playfellow; would not let
him kiss her as he was wont ; nor ramble with
her his arm encircling her little round waist. She
ceased running races with him, and began to call
him " Lord Robert ;" and would blush if he hap
pened to turn and catch her eye fixed musingly
upon his face. Robert himself also began to
show signs of change. He grew diffident and
silent in her company ; looked at her for a long
time together without saying a word ; then would
turn away and sigh, and look again, and sigh again.
He became less violent, less frequently angry ; his
voice became gentle and subdued : and he began
to show signs of fear in her presence, and trem
bled if she laid her hand on his arm, which, of late,
she was very careful not to do. Indeed, there is
no describing half the signs by which their progress
from the playmate state of chrysalis to the lovemate
state of ripe youth was marked. Robert Lester
very soon found that he was very unhappy away
from Kate, and very happy in her presence. The
maiden, on her part, was not long in discovering
that the days were very long when Robert did not
visit Castle Cor, and that she thought of him,
somehow, a great deal more than she used to do.
It evidently was very clear that she loved to look
from the battlement of the tower at the four distant
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 117
turrets on the top of Castle More, when he was
away, much oftener than she had done the year be
fore. Things went on in this manner, though from
worse to worse, till about a week before Kate's
sixteenth birthday, when it chanced that she and
her quondam playfellow were riding slowly home
ward, after an unsuccessful pursuit of a stag, which,
after having led them within a mile of Castle More,
doubled and turned upon its track towards the south,
and plunged into a morass not far from Castle Cor ;
so, as night was approaching, they had given up
the pursuit, and turned their horses' heads towards
They had been slowly riding side by side for
some time, breathing their horses, neither speaking
a word, but occasionally exchanging timid side-
glances in the way young people sometimes do
without lifting their eyelids. If by chance their eyes
met, both instantly averted their heads, switched
their horses, or plucked a leaf; but, in a few sec
onds, their heads would gradually come round, the
pupil of the eyes steal into the corners and again
meet, causing a second time very great embarrass
ment, and very guilty colouring of cheek and brow,
as if each had been detected by the other in some
crime. So they rode together in this pleasant man
ner for full half a mile ; and one would believe, from
their silence and the wide space they guardedly
preserved between each other, that they had quar
relled. But their countenances, though grave, look
ed too happy and sentimental for that ; besides, a
slight smile, or, rather, just the soft reflection of
one, played about their mouths. This for several
weeks past had been precisely their bearing towards
one another whenever they happened to be alone
together ; but, when in the presence of others, they
both gave way to the highest tone of gayety and
spirits. It was all very strange, very !
118 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
The lover at length looked ahead, and saw,
through an opening in the forest, the towers of Cas
tle Cor not a quarter of a mile distant. He invol
untarily reined in his horse, and looked full in Kate's
face ; his lips parted ; he essayed to speak, but his
voice adhered to his jaws. So he gasped, sighed,
and laid his hand eloquently on his heart. Kate also
saw the towers, and reined up at the same moment
he did ; looked demurely on the ground, and then,
as if she had nothing better to do, let fall her riding
whip, notwithstanding she had to untie it from her
wrist to do so. Instantly Lord Robert threw him
self from his saddle, giving the bridle a slight shake
as his foot left the stirrup, a hint which the sagacious
animal obeyed by bounding off towards the stables,
and took it from the ground ; then blushingly, and
with a conscious look, as if contemplating a daring
deed, he presented it to her. As, with averted eyes,
she extended her hand for it, he placed in it trem
blingly, instead of the whip, his own hand. She nei
ther started nor turned her head, but her young bo
som rose and fell quick, and he thought the hand
fluttered with a new pulsation as it lay in his. She
did not withdraw it. He grew confident, and
slightly, very slightly, pressed a finger. Thereupon
the little hand only throbbed the quicker. He
pressed two, then three fingers, and then, with a
boldness that grew with the occasion, he folded the
soft, gloved hand all in his own. The next mo
ment he coloured with conscious guilt, and looked
up into her face as if about to throw himself upon
her mercy. But she was so intently watching the
rich dies of a sunset cloud that she evidently did
not know what he was about ; so, instead of asking
pardon and looking very sad, he put on a very
nappy countenance, and, ever and anon casting his
glance upward to her face, began, little by little, to
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 119
draw off her glove. But, as she made no demon
strations of being aware of what he was doing,
he pulled the glove quite off. For an instant he held
it suspended, while he stole a very doubtful glance
into her half-averted face ; the next moment the
warm, snowy hand was pressed between his own,
and then, growing bolder apace, he began to cover it
with kisses. Hereupon the maiden slowly turned
her head and looked down at the bold youth with a
look that she doubtless meant to be a reproving
one ; he cast his eyes to the ground, still holding
the quiet hand nestled between both his own, and
said, in a soft whisper,
" Kate !"
" Robert !" was the equally gentle suspiration in
" Are you angry ?"
" I ought to be."
" Then you are not ?" was the half-joyful, half-
" No," was breathed in accents so very gentle
that it was conveyed to him by the movements of
the lips alone.
" Shall we walk to the castle ?"
And the young lady, studiously avoiding his eyes,
was gently and passively assisted to the ground ;
as she touched it, his arm glided about her taper
waist, and somehow their lips met. and again met,
and met again, and met so often, that the horse was
far out of sight before the fact forced itself on the.
mind of the maiden.
" Robert, desist ! There ! my horse has gal
" Shall I bring him to you ?" asked the delight
ed youth, in a tone that showed he did not very
120 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
much apprehend she would despatch him on such
" No, we can walk. But it is so foolish !"
And they walked on together for a few momenta,
" Kate !"
"Do you love me?"
" May I seal the confession ?"
" A fine time to ask leave now !" she said, laugh
Another kiss, and then another, and then a great
many others, firmly sealed this little love affair, and
placed them on a perfect understanding with each
other. They were from this moment lovers !
They quarrelled only twenty times in the subse
quent interval of a week that preceded her birth
day ; than which no greater proof need be ad
vanced to show the new relation in which they
stood to each other. But, then, they always made
up again ; the youth, whose hasty spirit caused
him five times out of seven to be the offender,
being ever ready to atone by every loverlike de
But such a sad breach as had been made between
them this day was without a parallel. To his own
mind it seemed too wide to be repaired ; too gross
to be atoned for by words. He, on his part, felt that
the lofty character and proud spirit of Kate, though
love plead never so loudly, would not brook the
insult her feelings had received by the wild out
break of his passions in her presence. He felt
that he had forfeited all title to a place in her affec
tions ; and that her indignation was justly roused
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 121
by the outrageous deed he had madly attempted :
with bitterness of heart he acknowledged that he
deserved to be banished for ever from her presence,
and to be remembered by her only with contempt.
But he knew not of what enduring material a maid
en's heart is composed ; he knew not that, when
love takes possession of it, like a magnet thrown
among some delicate machinery of steel commu
nicating to every part a portion of its own myste
rious nature, it penetrates and pervades every at
tribute, converts every passion to its own hue, and
renders each feeling subservient to itself. To its
arbitrament all things are referred. Reason, judg
ment, prudence, and even piety become secondary
to the will of this autocrat of the heart; and a
deaf ear is turned even to the counsels of the wise
and good when they do not conform to its dictates.
Such is the power of love wondrous, vast, incom
prehensible ! A religion without a god or a future ;
unbounded in its power ; universal in its extent ;
all-pervading in its influences !
He galloped along through the winding avenues
of the silent forest, scarce roused from his sad
meditations by the startled deer that fled at his ap
proach, yet stooping mechanically as some old oak
flung its gigantic arm low across the path. Uncon
sciously he urged on his noble horse to its utmost
speed ; his bonnet pressed down over his gloomy
brow ; his eyes dark and settled in their expres
sion ; and his hand nervously grasping the rein. At
one moment he would drop his head upon his
breast, and be overcome by the bitterness of grief.
At the next he would throw back his head, and
with eyes flashing fire, gnash his glittering teeth,
shake his clinched hands above his head, and curse
in the face of Heaven ; while the horse, catching
VOL. I. L
122 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
his fierce spirit, would erect his bristling mane, and
bound madly forward like the wind. These terri
ble paroxysms of mingled grief and rage would pass
away, and then he would ride slowly, with his arms
folded, and with an expression of settled desponden
cy. Three several times did he check his horse,
and, half-turning him round towards Castle Cor,
pause, and seem to deliberate between the sugges
tions of mingled hope and doubt. But, after a few
seconds' thought, he would shake his head despair
ingly and again spur forward.
In one of his moods of sullen gloom, with his
arms folded across his breast, his head drooped,
the reins lying loosely upon the horse's neck, he
came upon an old ruin half a league from Castle
More, and within the boundaries of its wide do
main. Here and there, amid a confusion of moss-
grown fragments that everywhere strewed the
ground, rose to his eye a mouldering buttress ; the
half of a Gothic window ; a ruined tower, lifting
itself in melancholy loneliness, in the last stages of
decay ; or, a doorway choked to its lintel with rub
bish. Over all crept the ivy, that lovely emblem
of charity, binding up, with its slender fingers, the
wounded towers ; covering with its thick robe of
leaves the nakedness that time had exposed ; and,
where it could neither heal nor strengthen, wreath
ing about the dilapidated walls garlands of enduring
It was the ruins of a chapel, where, centuries be
fore, the barons of Castle More had worshipped.
Now all was desolation. Its bell was hushed ; its
choir for ever silent. The priests the worship
pers, where were they ? sleeping beneath the ruins
of the crumbling chancel ; their high or holy names,
which no man remembers, carved deep in the su
perincumbent marble. Apparently coeval with the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 123
fallen temple, near its eastern end grew an aged
tree, spreading over half the ruin its huge broad
arms as if it would fain protect, in its desolation,
the relics of that structure whose days of honour
it had witnessed. A soft evening sunlight, strug
gling through the tops of the surrounding forest,
shed a crimson glow over the whole scene, and im
parted a quiet and sacred character to the spot that
took from it its aspect of desolation. It stood
there lonely and majestic in its ruin, forcibly sug
gesting to the mind the idea (for there does exist
a mysterious sympathy of association between man
and inanimate objects) of calm, Christian old age,
ripe in years and holiness, gathering about itself,
with dignity and grace, its mantle of decay.
Wrapped in his gloomy thoughts, the horseman
was absently following the path that wound among
the ruins, when, as he turned a sudden angle of the
pile, his horse started and nearly threw him from
his saddle. Roused to a sense of his situation, he
recovered his seat, seized the bridle, and looked up.
Directly in his path stood a woman, in a short scar
let cloak, then, as now, the favourite colour of the
Irish peasantry, leaning on a long white staff, curi
ously carved with mysterious figures. She was
beneath the middle height, and hideously hunch
backed. Her hair was bright red, of extraordinary
length, and hung down in masses nearly to the
ground. Around her forehead was bound a cinc
ture of beads, woven into singular devices, which
confined a sort of turban of green silk. Her com
plexion was bronzed by exposure, but evidently
once had been fair. Her features were stern and al
most 'masculine, yet bearing traces of feminine
beauty : the straight forehead, contracted by a rigid
frown ; the aquiline nose ; the arched brow, and
thin, well-shaped lips, with a roundly turned chin,
124 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
were all, evidently, wrecks of what had once been
beautiful. Her eye was large, full, and clear, and
would still have been handsome but for a lurking
devil in it. But the unsightly deformity of her
person, if natural, must always have served to ren
der nugatory any charm of countenance ; and, what
ever might have been her attractions in youth, her
present appearance was calculated to excite only
feelings of mingled fear and disgust. The young
man gazed at her a moment as she stood in his
path, and then, in a tone that was in unison with
his present humour, said fiercely,
" Curses light on thee, hag ! Stand from my
path, or I will ride over thee, and trample thy hid
eous carcass with my horse's hoofs."
"Robert Lester, as men call thee," she said,
without changing her position, in a cold, hard
voice, and with a malicious laugh, " thou hast been
crossed in thy will, and art out of temper. Dost
wish revenge ?"
" Woman, avaunt ! I want none of thy counsel.
From my path, or I will ride thee down !"
As he spoke, the impatient horseman struck
his spurs deep into his horse's flanks, and urged
the animal forward ; the beast reared and plunged
fearfully to either side, but refused to advance.
" Ha, ha, Robert More ! If men will obey thee
thy brute will not. He has the eye to see dangers
that are hidden from mortal vision."
" Witch fiend !" cried the young man, fiercely,
" I will dismount and hurl thee from the path if
thou bar my way farther. Stand aside and let me
And a second time the infuriated rider urged the
terrified beast forward, but was nearly unhorsed by
his efforts to turn from the road. In an instant he
leaped to the ground and advanced upon her. She
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 125
smiled scornfully as he approached, caught the
arm he extended to seize her, and held him in her
grasp with the force of a vice.
" Ha, ha, Robert More ! thou art defeated."
Quick as lightning, with his other hand he drew
from his breast a hunting-knife, and, elevating it
above her head, said, in a cool, decided tone,
"Elpsy, release me, or I sheath this blade in thy
She fixed her dark wild eyes upon his face an
instant, and reading aright its resolute expression,
let go her grasp.
" 'Tis well for thee, Elpsy," he said, returning
the blade to his bosom ; " thou hast saved thy
wretched life, and thy blood is not on my soul.
Now leave the path !" he added, sternly. "By the
cross ! ere I will be bearded thus on my own lands,
I will command my retainers to hurl thee into the
" Thy lands ! thy retainers ! Ha, ha, ha, Rob
ert More ! I have in store a punishment for thee
and for thy pride, that will repay me for all thy ar
rogance ! Oh, how thy haughty soul will writhe !
how thy proud spirit will groan. ! Have I not a
cup for thee to drink 1 Oh, have I ! Ha, ha,
The foreboding words and wild laugh of the hag
sunk deep into the soul of the young man. He was
impressed by her manner as much as by her lan
guage, and, with a changing cheek, said quickly,
" What mean these dark words, Elpsy ?"
" Dark ! yes, they are dark to thee now, but I
can make them clear as the sun at noon ; ay,
proud Robert of Lester ! they shall scorch thee !
wither thy soul ! cause thy heart to shrink ! thy
neck to bow ! thy head to lie in the very dust ! Oh,
will not the lowest slave among the vassals that
126 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
wait thy word pity thee, when thine ears receive
what I would reveal !"
The wild prophetic air, the energy and taunting
scorn with which she spoke, alarmed while it en
" Madness ! Woman fiend ! monster of deform
ity ! speak, I command thee."
" Thou command me, Robert Lester ! Well,
there will be a time ! Wouldst thou know what
I have to reveal ?" she asked, fixing on him her
" Beware if thou art mocking my fears ! I will
pluck thy tongue from thy throat, and fling it to my
hounds if thou hast trifled with me !"
"What I will tell thee will be so true, thou wilt
indeed wish the tongue that spoke it had been
plucked from its roots ere it had given it utterance.
Nevertheless, the time has come for thee to hear ;
and I may no longer delay the recital of what, for
thy sake," she added, with a softer manner, "I
would bear close locked in my breast to the grave.
But," she concluded, in a lofty tone, " what is to be
revealed must be made known, though the heav
en's were to fall and the earth to quake. Who
shall stay the hand of fate when once it is lifted to
" Elpsy, 1 ' said Lester, in a deep and earnest
voice, unable to throw off the presentiment of com
ing evil her words had awakened, " I would believe
thou hadst something to make known to me either
of good or evil, though of the latter alone I know
thou art the minister. Yet, if thou hast aught to
say, I am ready to listen, good mother !" he added,
in a mild and persuasive tone.
" Robert More," she said, in a voice of super
human softness, while the frigid and austere char
acter of her face passed away, and her features as-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 127
sumed a more womanly and gentler expression ;
" those last few words were kindly spoken, and be
came thee : they have touched my heart for even
Elpsy has a heart," she said, with sarcastic bitter
ness ; " for those kind expressions I would with
hold from thee the knowledge of the doom that
awaits thee. But it is not for me," she added, in
an enthusiastic voice, and with returning wildness
of the eye ; " it is not for one like me to refuse to
obey the decree that has gone forth against thee.
As a mortal, I pity thee ! as a woman, I could weep
for thee ! and as No," she interrupted herself, and
muttered, " no, he shall not know all now ; he shall
not learn all till my soul is on the wing ; then, then
will it be time enough !" She then added aloud,
" as the minister of the invisible world, I must do as
I am commanded. Robert More, if you can bear
to hear what I am doomed to tell, follow me !"
" Nay, Elpsy, speak to me here."
" Obey me !" she commanded, in an authoritative
voice, that had a singular power over his will, and
which he had not the ability to resist.
Without waiting for a reply, or looking round to
see if she were followed, she turned from the bridle
path, and, bounding with great activity and with a
sort of mad exhilaration of spirits over the frag
ments of stone that lay in her way, directed her
course towards a low door at the foot of the crum
bling tower. He hesitated a moment, and then,
leaving his horse cropping the long rich grass that
grew among the ruins, followed her. She entered
the ruin, and, guided by a dim twilight that pene
trated through the top of the ruinous arch, led the
way along a covered passage which ran in the di
rection of the chancel. Its extremity was wrapped
in total darkness.
" Elpsy, I will follow thee no farther," he called.
128 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
after advancing till he could no longer take a step
safely in the impenetrable gloom that surrounded
him, while she walked before him with a free,
rapid, and confident pace.
" Take the end of my staff," she said, returning
a few steps and placing it within his reach.
" Thy cabalistic wand, woman !" he repeated, in
a tone of horror, recoiling from her several paces
and crossing himself. " Avoid thee !"
Like many among the highborn and educated of
that day, Lester was not above the superstitious
notions of the times, and assented to, perhaps with
out firmly believing, the existence and power of
sorceresses. Among the great number of these
singular beings that about this time rose up and
filled the minds of all men, both in Great Britain
and the New-England colonies, with pious alarm
and godly horror, was Elpsy More, or " Elpsy of
the Tower," for by both of these names she was
known, who had the reputation, above all others
who practised the black art, of being on the most
intimate footing with his Satanic highness. Dark
and wild were the tales that had gone forth, and
were repeated in hall and cot, of the supernatural
deeds of this communer with the world of spirits.
By the imaginations of the credulous and timid she
was invested with powers that could belong only
to the Creator of the universe ; and it was believed
by all good Catholics, that every Whitsuntide the
devil came to dine with her in the chancel of the
old church, making a table of the marble tomb of
Black Morris O'More ; who, as the tradition went,
sold his soul for the love of a beautiful lady, who
turned out to be a fiend, and on the bridal night
flew away with him into the regions of wo.
When Lester crossed the threshold of the gloomy
gallery, these tales of diablerie had come crowding
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 129
thick upon his memory, painted in their most vivid
hues by his imagination ; and with all his daring his
blood ran cold in his veins : nevertheless, he had
continued to grope on until he could go no farther,
when he called to her. As the staff she offered
came in contact with his hand, he had shuddered
and shrunk back, remembering how that it was
said her crutch was given her by her master,
who hacVcharmed it by hardening it in the fires of
the ever-burning lake ; and that whomsoever she
touched with it, or even pointed it to, that wore
neither cross, bead, nor blessed relic about his neck,
his soul would surely be lost. Lester trembled as
these legends passed through his mind, crossed him
self, and with great devotion muttered a paternoster.
" Here, then, is my hand !" she said, seeing his
" Fearful being, I will not go with thee."
" Robert More, obey me ! There is my hand.
It shall not harm thee," she added, in that pecu
liar tone which held such a singular power over
Without replying, he took the extended hand
and followed her through the dark passage a few
yards farther, when she stopped and said,
" Heed thy footsteps ! Here are steps thou
must go down with me."
As she spoke she began to descend a flight of
stone stairs into a vault beneath. He would have
held back, but she gently and irresistibly led him
down, when they stood upright in a damp cham
ber, in which a faint light struggled through an
opening in the floor of the chapel above. The
dank, noisome atmosphere of the place, and its
subterraneous position beneath the chancel, filled
him with awe and fear.
" Woman, whither have you led me ?" he asked,
130 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
in a voice deep with the mingled emotions of sus
picion, alarm, and resentment.
" Into the tomb where rest the bones of Black
Morris O'More," she answered, in a voice that
sounded hollow and sepulchral.
" Mother of Heaven !" he gasped, " then is my
soul lost !"
" Thou wilt little heed thy soul, proud youth,
when thou hast heard my tale."
" Be speedy with thy story, then ; for, good or
ill befall, I will not long remain here."
" Fear not ; thou art in no danger ! Step cau
tiously, and I will guide thee across this chamber
to my own house. This is only the anteroom to it.
Ha, ha !" she laughed frightfully. " See ! I have
grim Morris O'More to stand guard over my door."
As she said this she struck something, which, in
the darkness, rattled like bones suspended from the
ceiling of the vault.
" Sorceress !" cried he, shuddering at the sound,
" I will go no farther."
" Come with me, Robert More !" she said, firm
ly ; " and see thou fall not over the tomb of Black
Morris in the way."
She drew him by the arm as she spoke with a
strength far beyond his own. He felt for his hunt
ing-knife, determined to free himself by striking
her with it.
" Hold !" she cried, divining his intentions ; " I
will not harm thee. Here is my abode !"
While speaking, she struck against the opposite
wall with her staff, and a door flew open, exposing
the interior of a small circular chamber receiving
a dim light from the sky, which was seen calm
and blue through the roofless tower above.
" Welcome to the abode of Elpsy of the Tower !"
she said, with irony. " 'Tis not the princely one
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 131
thou art accustomed to, but it will serve thy pres
ent purpose. Didst know that on thy domains
thou hadst such a brave woodland palace ? Look
about thee !"
The young man entered the room with a feeling
of relief that he no longer was in the very sepul
chre, though still within reach, of the tomb of Black
Morris the accursed. The apartment in which he
now found himself originally had been constructed
by the priests for the preservation of the sacred
vessels of the church in times of hostile invasion of
their domains. It was a subterranean room, situ
ated beneath a circular tower or turret that rose at
the southeast angle of the chapel. The tower
once had contained three floors, one above the
other ; the mortises for the sleepers being yet visi
ble, ranged regularly and at equal distances around
the inner side. The top or roof of the tower, with
its battlement and Gothic ornaments, had long
since fallen in ; and the floors, down even to the
ground that formed the floor of the witch's apart
ment and the very foundation of the tower, had
successively decayed and disappeared. The only
entrance to this tunnel-like turret was the door
from the sepulchre by which he had been admit
ted. From this vault to the chambers formerly
above, access had been obtained by a circular stair
way within the tower and conducting from floor to
floor, the beds of the beams and fixtures which
supported them still remaining in the masonry.
The object of these once-existing upper chambers
of the round tower is involved in mystery, though
tradition hath given to the " three tower-chambers"
each their own wild tale of dark superstition and
As he stood in the vault in the bottom of the
tower, and looked far out at the sky, it was like
132 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
gazing upward from the bottom of a well. The
light came in strongly at the top, but grew fainter
and fainter as it penetrated deeper, till only a
dim twilight reached the chamber below. He rec
ognised the tower as the loftiest of the ruin which
often he had made a landmark when hunting, and
ascertained thereby his position : this discovery
rendering him more at his ease, he turned to sur
vey the subterranean abode which Elpsy had
In the midst of the floor was a heap of cin
ders, on which stood a small iron kettle, appa
rently the only utensil she used for preparing her
food. A stone escutcheon, broken from one of the
tombs, served her for a seat, and a pile of fern and
leaves for a bed. These constituted all the neces
saries that her singular and solitary way of life
called for. But there were other objects that at
tracted his attention, and thrilled his blood as he
gazed on them. Beside the door, its bones tied to
gether with strips of deer's hide, hung a skeleton of
great size, its ghastly jaws carefully bound up and
grinning horribly, and its hollow, bony sockets filled
with stag's eyes wildly staring at him. Sculls,
cross-bones, and other hideous mementoes of the
charnel-house were arranged along the sides of
the walls ; while charms, amulets, and all the nu
merous instruments of sorcery lay about. Through
the open door he beheld the stone effigy of Black
Morris, which had slided from its recumbent pos
ture above his tomb by the sinking of the earth,
standing nearly upright, staring with his stony gaze
into the round chamber, before which swung the
skeleton of which his tomb had been despoiled.
The tomb itself was open, and its black sepulchral
mouth yawned as if it would gladly receive a new
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA 133
Terrible to Lester's nerves was the trial pro
duced by this scene. Bold and fearless as he was
by nature, he could not suppress emotions of fear
(the cowardice of superstition) at the situation and
circumstances in which he had suffered himself to
be drawn by the taunting language of a wild weird
woman, who not only was the professed enemy of
all mankind, but had manifested hostile feelings
towards himself. He nevertheless resolved that,
having adventured, he would go through with it,
trusting, with religious faith, that all good saints
would help him against spiritual foes ; while for pro
tection against mortal ones, ay, even Elpsy herself,
he trusted to his own coolness, and, if it should
come to that, the broad sharp blade of his hunting-
knife. Having fortified his mind with this resolve,
he felt more confidence ; and being now in some
degree familiarized with his situation and the
ghastly objects around him, he turned to address
the sorceress, who, on entering, had seated herself
on a scull, and, with her chin buried between her
hands, continued to fix her dark eyes upon his face
with a mingled expression of pity and malignant
triumph. Before he could speak she rose, and,
laying her hand on his arm, said, in a tone between
sadness and derision,
" How like you my abode, my lord ?"
" 'Tis a gloomy place."
" Ay, and many a gloomy day have I spent in
it. Sit ye down on that stone, Lord Lester !" she
added, laying a peculiar emphasis upon the last
two words ; " 'tis a knight's shield, and should be
a fit seat for thee /"
" Is it thus, Elpsy, you use the sculptured ar
mour and the sepultured bones of my ancestors ?"
he said, in an indignant tone.
" Thy ancestors ?" she repeated, scornfully. " Sit
VOL. L M
134 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
thou there, Lord Lester. Dost hear, LORD Les
ter ? Open thine ears, and drink in the title and
style well for 'twill be the last time they will fall
" Cease your mockery, woman ! Say what thou
hast to say, and quickly."
" Listen !" she said, seating herself on a scull op
posite to him, while a struggle between sympathy
and malicious exultation was visible on her features.
" Young, and fair, and brave to look upon withal !"
she said, muttering to herself, and gazing on him
steadfastly and thoughtfully ; " a coronet would
grace that brow even as if 'twere born to it. Rob
ert Lester, or Robert More, for men call thee both,"
she said aloud, bending her face towards him, and
speaking in an impressive manner, " now listen to
the tale I have in store for thee- Fix thine eye
upon me that I may see it blench as I go on. Oh !
it's a tale for a Christmas eve, I trow !"
She was silent a few seconds, as if sending her
thoughts back through the past ; then, in a low
voice, which rose or fell, was wild or sad, slow or
rapid, as her subject moved her, she began :
" Eighteen long years ago there dwelt by the
seaside a poor fisherman, honest, hard labouring in
his vocation, but contented with his lot, never hav
ing known better. He was a widower, but had an
only daughter, his sole companion, and the enly
link that bound him to his kind. This child grew
up to be a tall and comely maiden. Her eyes were
of the rich brown hue of the ripe chestnut. Her
hairj soft as the floss of Florence, was a fair brown ;
but when the winds that came off the sea would
toss it in the sunlight, there played over it a blaze
of gold. It never had known confinement, but
floated like a sunset cloud about her head."
" What has this to do with thy tale ?" demanded
i '-.-- ,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 135
" Listen !" she said, calmly but firmly ; her
features, as her thoughts seemed to dwell pleasu
rably on the beauty of the maiden, becoming more
humanized, while her voice modulated and har
monized with the words she uttered. "This fair
maid grew up, unknowing and unknown ; bud
ding and blooming like a lone flower by the sea
side. Her laugh was merry as the carol of the
glad lark as it soars and sings ; her spirits were
light as the sparkling foam of the summer's sea ;
her heart as pure as the moonbeam that slept on
the wave. Her happiness was in her father's smile
and in his paternal love ; and, besides her little cot,
and the wide sea which she loved, and the tall cliff
that towered above her home, she knew not, until
she had entered her eighteenth year, that there was
any other world. Alas, for that maiden, that she
had not remained in ignorance ! Alas, for her, that
her heart was not as cold as the moonbeam it re
sembled in its purity ! One black and stormy night,
a voice, shouting for aid, reached the ears of the
old fisherman and his child, heard above the howl-
ings of wind and roaring of the angry deep.
" ' Rise, my child !' he cried, ' there is life in
" In a few moments they were by the seaside,
and by flashes of lightning beheld a small bark
driving towards the shore before the tempest. On
its prow stood a group of men, who waved their
arms wildly as the lightning showed to them the
forms of the old man and his daughter standing on
the beach, and shouted for help. Swift and irre
sistible, like an affrighted courser, the fatal vessel
drove onward, now lifted high on a surge, now plun
ging into a yawning chasm, till at length, borne to
a great height on a wave, she trembled an instant
on its top, and then, descending like an arrow,
136 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
struck against the bottom and was dashed to
pieces. Wild, fearful, unearthly was the shriek
that pierced the ears of the fisherman and his child !
They looked where, a moment before, it went ca
reering over the foaming billows, and the lightning
gleamed only upon fragments of the wreck, human
heads, and wildly waving arms. One solitary cry
rent the air after she struck, and then naught but
the shriek of the winds, like a human wail, and the
tumult of the sea as it lashed the shore in its fury,
was to be heard."
" What has this to do with the tale I came hith
er to learn ?" asked the youth, impatiently ; never
theless, had he listened to her with interest, deeply
impressed by the energy of her voice and manner,
as she warmed in her narrative.
" Much," she said, quietly. " Listen ! The fish
erman, with his hair streaming in the wind, and his
garments wet with the spray, long traversed the
beach to see if human life had been cast on shore.
He was accompanied by his daughter, who, with
her golden locks glancing in the lightning, her lofty
forehead calm and firm with womanly energy, and
her fair young face lighted up with the noble spirit
that inspired her to the task, looked like some
bright spirit of peace that had come to stay the
tempest. They watched by that lonely shore till
the dawn broke, when, by its first faint glimmer,
the maiden discovered an object like a human
form lying on the edge of the sea beside a rock,
whither it had been tossed by the stormy waves.
With a cry between hope and mistrust she sprang
fearlessly towards the object for, in the stern du
ties of humanity to its suffering kind, fear nor false
delicacy have no place, and, if they had, that maid
en was too good, too ignorant of life to know either.
As she came close to it, she saw that it was the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 137
body of a man. She placed her hand upon his
temples. They were warm. He was alive ! Alas,
far better would it have been for her had he been
cold as the stone beside which he lay ! His pulse
was very faint ; she could just feel it throb like a
fine chord vibrating against her finger. He was
lying upon his side naturally, like one in sleep. It
was not yet light enough to see whether he was
young or old, but she knew, from the soft smooth
skin of his brow, that many winters of manhood had
not passed over his head. With her aid her father
bore him to their hut, and, after bathing his forehead
and hands in spirits, and applying for his restora
tion the few but effective means known to those
whose lives are passed on the sea, he opened his
eyes, and, after a little while, was able to sit up.
After having waited a few moments to recall his
faculties, he seemed to have become conscious of
his situation, and the fatal cause which led to it :
with a smile of gratitude he looked up, and, glan
cing first at the father and then at the daughter,
acknowledged, in a voice and with a look that
thrilled to the heart of the poor maiden, how much
he owed them for their exertions in saving his life."
" This is a long story, Elpsy, and, methinks, liU
tie to the purpose !" interrupted Lester.
" Listen ! His language was courteous, and his
speech addressed alone to her : his manner was
also gentle, and such as would please a maiden.
He got up and walked to the window to look out
upon the beach, which was strewn with fragments
of the wreck ; and, as he did so, she was struck
with his noble figure, and proud, soldierly air; and
the soft sadness that came over his face, as he sur
veyed the melancholy relics of his gallant vessel,
touched her heart. He was not above thirty years
of age, with a high, fair brow, and a cheek, though
138 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
sunburnt, bright as a child's. His hair was of
a silvery hue, that harmonized with his complex
ion, and flowed long and in shining waves about
his shoulders. His eyes were as blue as if they
had been mirrors to reflect the summer's sky, and,
as she met them, were tender, yet ardent, in their
expression. His smile was fascinating, and his
rich voice was full of melody and most manly in
its tones. Poor fisher's daughter ! She gazed on
him bewildered with love, and lost her heart ere
she scarce knew she possessed one ! He turned
away from the window, and his eyes met the fer
vent gaze of the maiden. She blushed ; her eye
lids fell ; her young bosom heaved tumultuously,
and the worldly-wise stranger read her heart at a
" The evening of that day (for hour after hour did
he linger beneath the fisherman's lowly roof) they
sat together in the door of her cot. He took her
hand, and told her, in a low, gentle voice, how he
had sailed homeward from Spain, where he had
been fighting as a soldier; and how, with his com
panions, he had been, the last night, driven by the
tempest on that inhospitable shore when within five
leagues of his destination ; and how that he had
lost much treasure by the shipwreck, but that her
presence had made him forget all he had lost;
that her smile repaid him for all that he had suf
fered. Poor maiden ! The hours wore away, yet
they seemed minutes to her ; the stars came out,
and the tardy moon rose ! He discoursed to her
of love, and she listened ! Her ears drank in his
words ! Her heart was no longer her own. He
told her that he loved her, and received her in
genuous confession in return. He then told her
of a brave tower, that stood amid broad lands five
leagues northward, which owned him as master,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 139
and this, he said, he would make her the mistress
of if she would become his bride. She believed
and promised. He then said he must leave her,
but would return in a few days in a fair ship, and
claim its fulfilment. The next morning he took his
departure. She wept sorely in his arms when he
left her. But, ere her father, who had been pursu
ing his daily toil on the deep, returned, she had
dried up her tears and clothed her face with smiles
to meet him, lest her sorrow should make him sad.
She did not tell him of her love or the promise of
the stranger : it was the first time she had harbour
ed a secret in her guileless heart. She was silent
from maidenly modesty ; for, with the love that had
got into her heart, had entered many new feelings
hitherto unknown to her.
" Sad and heavy passed the days, when one even
ing, as she stood upon the beach looking, now south
ward for the light skiff of her father, and, much of-
tener, northward for the expected bark of her lover,
she saw the evening sun glancing on a white sail
that appeared coming round a promontory a league
distant to the north. It bent its course towards the
beach. Her heart fluttered. She knew not what
to do for joy ; and, in her impatience, could have
flown along the white sand to meet it ! Steadily it
bore down towards her. She now forgot to look
for the little skiff of her father ; her eyes were
fixed alone on the coming bark ! It approached
nearer and nearer. She could see forms on the
deck. As it came closer, high on the poop, stand
ing alone like its master spirit, she discovered her
lover. He waved his hand to her, and, as she an
swered it, the vessel came to ; a boat was launched,
and he sprang into it. A few strokes of the oar
sent it to the land, and, leaping out, the handsome
stranger clasped the lovely maiden in his arms.
140 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
" ' Come, gentle maid,' he said, in accents of love ;
come and be the bride of my home and heart.'
" ' Not without my father !' she said, looking anx-r
iously to see if she could descry his boat.
" ' Think not of him now,' said he ; 'he shall
soon come, and cheer with his presence your new
" ' He will grieve when he finds I have left him,'
she said, with filial tenderness. ' I cannot go.'
" ' He shall, ere long, see you again,' he said,
gently leading her along ; ' come, dearest, fly with
me to the abode I have prepared for you. This
shall be our bridal night !'
" The maiden suffered herself to be borne to the
waiting bark ; its sails were trimmed to the breeze,
and swiftly it cut its way through the crested bi! T
lows towards the direction from which it came."
" Hast done ?' asked the impatient Lester.
" Hear me !" said Elpsy, in a stern tone. " The
morning's sun shone upon a dark square tower,
with a single wing that looked upon the sea, and
his beams penetrated a stained lattice, and fell in
brilliant and varied dies on the floor of a chamber
within it. In that chamber sat the fisher's daugh
ter ; and the fair-locked stranger was bending over
her as she sat by the window, dallying with her
golden tresses. The night upon the sea had been
her bridal night ! But, alas ! unblessed by priest,
unmarked by altar, or prayer, or vow ! She was
neither bride nor maid."
Here the witch's voice trembled with emotion,
while her eyes grew rigid, and her brow became
gloomy and fearful to look upon.
"Who did this maiden this foul wrong?" asked
the youth, with a flashing eye.
" Hurtel of the Red-Hand !'<
" fla ! that rebel Irish chief, who, to save his
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 141
head, fled to the Colonies, and who, for his blood
thirsty spirit, got the title of The Red-Hand ]' "
demanded Lester, with interest.
" The same."
" I would have sworn it ! Go on."
She smiled grimly, and then continued :
" For many days he was devoted to his victim ;
but amused her, when she besought him to heal
her wounded honour by the words of the holy mass
of marriage, with idle excuses ; and so she was put
off from day to day, till she found there was life
within her bosom, and that she was about to be
come a wedless mother.
" Gradually he got to neglect her, and daily grew
more and more estranged from her ; and at length,
heading a secret conspiracy, his tower became the
rendezvous of insurgent leaders, and day and night
rung with bacchanalian revels. Lonely she sat,
evening after evening, in her solitary chamber, with
her face resting on her hand, and her eyes looking
south over the sea ; her thoughts winging their way
to her lowly cot and its humble occupant, who, per
haps, mourned his daughter as having perished in
" At length she became a mother. He was away
at the time, at the head of a party of conspira
tors bound on an expedition of treason and blood
shed. On the third day afterward he returned.
She heard the tramp of horses, and with hurried
joy opening the lattice for, notwithstanding his
neglect, she loved him still saw him riding rapid
ly towards the tower, followed only by a single
rider, and leading by the rein a palfrey, on which
was mounted a beautiful lady ; she saw that her
head drooped, that she appeared sick and faint, and
that he supported her by passing one arm about her
waist. A pang of jealousy, the first she had ever
142 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
known, shot through her bosom. They reined up
beneath the window : she saw him take her in his
arms from the saddle, and bear her within the tow
er. Then, with surprise, she heard him, in a loud
tone, give commands for all the defences of the
castle to be put up, as if he expected to encoun
ter a siege. She returned again to her couch faint
and sick at heart, and waited his appearance. An
hour elapsed ere he came, and painful were the
thoughts that agitated her bosom. When at length
she heard his footsteps, she rose to meet him with
a smile of love, with her infant extended in her
arms. His dress was disordered and bloody, as if
he was just from conflict ; and she at once saw,
for affection is quick and suspicious ever, that his
brow was dark and angry.
"'Ha!' he cried, scornfully, 'what have we
'* ' The pledge of your former love,' she said, with
gentle reproof, offering it to his arms.
"'By the head of St. Peter!' he exclaimed,
pushing her rudely away, and fixing upon her a
terrible look (which but one other living can give,"
said Elpsy, with peculiar emphasis, fixing her gaze
upon Lester), " ' I brought thee not hither to breed
brats ! Fling it from the window !'
. " And, without deigning to cast a glance upon it,
he strode across the chamber, while, with a cry of
pain and mortal anguish, she sunk down upon the
floor. He turned and looked back at her for a few
seconds, and then said fiercely,
" ' Rise, woman ! I have brought a lady hither
who will need thy services ere the dawn. Up, I
say. Thou shall be her servant if I bid thee.
Such a station will best suit thy birth. Up, or I
will tear thy brat from thee and cast it from the
THE WIZARD 01- THE SEA. 143
" She clung convulsively to her babe and rose
from the ground. But was she not changed in that
little while, Robert More ? Was not her deep love
turned into deep hate ? Ay ! as if by the wave of
a wand her soul was changed, and she became a
different being. 'Tis but a step from the deepest
love to the deepest hate in woman's heart; when,
she feels that she is deliberately injured. Then
lightning is not quicker than the change hell not
deeper than her hate ! She rose from the floor an
other creature. He saw the alteration in her coun
tenance, and, for a moment, his guilty spirit cow
ered. But Satan helped him to banish all feeling
from his breast, and he waved her sternly away,
" ' Whither ?' she asked, meeting his fierce gaze
with a cool glance of contempt.
" ' To the chamber opening from the hall,' he"
said, in a tone of less authority, dropping his eyea
before her steady look.
" As he went out he muttered to himself, but the*
mother's open ears caught the meaning of the words,
" ' That child shall die !'
" She shuddered, but spoke not : clasping hef
child to her bosom after he had left her, she tottered
from the room and descended to the hall. Enter
ing the apartment designated, she there beheld the
lady whom she had seen ride up to the tower.
She was reclining on a couch, and appeared to be
overpowered by fatigue and grief. She was very
lovely, with fine dark eyes that were filled with
tears, and raven hair that was spread dishevelled
over her pillow. She turned her face as the door
opened, and her countenance brightened with hope
as she saw the approach of one of her own sex.
The young mother advanced to the couch and of
fered her consolation. The lady glanced at the
swaddled infant, and asked if she were the wife of
'Hurtel of the Red-Hand.'
144 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" ' No,' was the sad, yet stern, reply.
" The lady ceased to inquire further, and, being
in her turn asked how she came there, said that she
was a noble lady and a wife."
" A noble lady !" repeated Lester, with interest.
"Now that there is high blood spoken of, you
can feel an interest in my story," she said, sarcas
tically. " Listen ! She told how her lord had gone
that morning at the head of a party of gentlemen
to attack a strong position of the insurgents, when,
anxious and impatient for intelligence, she rode out,
accompanied by several servants, nearly a league
from her castle, in hopes of meeting him or a mes
senger. She got no tidings of him, and was on her
return, when one overtook her with a message from
her lord, saying that he had gained a signal victory
over the conspirators, who were totally routed with
great slaughter, and that their chief, Hurtel of the
Red-Hand, had barely escaped with his life."
" A battle with conspirators, and defeat of Hur
tel of the Red-Hand. By Heaven ! woman, my
father once fought and conquered this same chief !
Ha your looks ! what speak was it was she
no go on, it cannot be !"
The sorceress smiled mysteriously and contin
" ' I had hardly received this joyful news,' she
said, 'when three horsemen, riding at full speed,
came spurring behind us. They were passing us,
when one of them, whom I recognised as Hurtel
of the Red-Hand, turned in his saddle as he dashed
by, and, looking at me earnestly, exclaimed,
" ' " The countess, by all that's fortunate ! This
will help redeem the day's reverses, and give me a
chance for my head !"
" ' As he spoke he threw himself, with his com
pany, sword in hand, upon my servants, and, after
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 145
a brief struggle, in which he lost one of his party,
either slew or dispersed them ; and then, ere I had
time to collect my thoughts, he seized the rein of
my palfrey and conveyed me hither. His object
must be either ransom, or, more probably, the hope
of being able, with me in his power, to make his
own terms with the victorious party, of which my
noble lord is captain. You, who have so recently
become a mother, will sympathize with me at this
" I will briefly pass over the events that follow
ed," continued Elpsy. " Before dawn the Lady Les
ter was prematurely delivered of a male child ; a
fine, black-eyed boy, healthy and robust; but,
through weakness and mental anxiety, she soon
after became insensible, and neither caressed nor
opened her eyes to look upon it. At sunrise the
insurgent chief entered the chamber, and demanded
which was the fisher's brat. There was an expres
sion upon his face and a dark look in his eye that
boded ill. With a convulsive shudder the mother
shrunk from his gaze and flew to the bed, on the
foot of which slept the two infants. She was just
about to clasp her own to her heart, with the resolu
tion to defend it with her life, when suddenly she
checked the maternal impulse, and, turning to him,
said, as if her conduct would depend upon his re-
" ' What would you do with it ?'
" ' Give it me !' he demanded, more fiercely, ' or
I will slay both thee and thy young one.'
" And he approached her menacingly as he spoke.
" She once more bent over the babes ! She dared
not disobey : yet a mother's love called loudly at her
heart. Her babe's life was all in all to her. It
must be saved ! She thought only of saving it !
" ' I wait !' he said, sternly.
VOL. I. N
146 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Instinctively she caught up the babe of the no
ble lady and placed it in his arms.
" ' 'Tis here ! But spare, oh, spare it !' she
cried, as he strode from the chamber with it in his
" Her heart smote her for what she had done.
Leaving behind her her own babe, which she had
saved by this maternal deception, she followed,
clinging to him, and entreating him to spare the in
nocent. He heeded her not, but advanced rapidly
to a balcony that overhung the water thirty feet
above it, and, heedless of her cries, cast it over.
She sprang forward, and saw that the swaddling
robe in which it was wrapped had caught the point
of a sharp rock, and that it hung suspended by it
within a foot of the water. With a cry of joy she
had nearly sprung off to save the babe, when,
seeing that, by a bold leap from the balustrade,
she could reach a projecting rock, from which she
could clamber down to the water, she prepared to
take it. But her exclamation caused him to turn
back ; and seeing the fall of the child had been so
singularly arrested, and that she was about to at
tempt its rescue, he grew black with rage, and
with a violent blow, as she was in the act of spring
ing to the rock, struck her from the balcony into
the sea. As she fell she caught by the edges of
the cliff, and, in some degree, broke her fall, but,
nevertheless, descended heavily into the water. It
was not deep, and she recovered her feet, caught
the babe in her arms, and, staggering to a sandy
part of the shore, sunk down insensible. When
she recovered her senses the sun was high in the
heavens. She attempted to rise, but found she
was deeply bruised, and that her spine was much
injured by striking against the rock in her descent.
She looked up to the balcony. It was closed, and
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 147
all was silent. It was evident that the murderer,
supposing the fall fatal, had not the courage to
watch her descent, and had retired.
" She immediately resolved not to enter the castle
again. With her soul turned to bitterness, burning
with vengeance against the author of her wrongs,
and suffering with pain, she prepared to seek, with
the infant she held in her arms, her father's cot.
For her own babe she had no fears. She knew
that it would ever be regarded as that to which
the lady had given birth. It was fifteen miles to
her native hut ; yet weary, suffering, ill, she drag
ged herself thither by the evening of the second
day. Her father, who had long mourned her dead,
met her with open arms. He pitied and nursed
her for many long months till she recovered her
health ; but her beauty of form was gone for ever.
Her soul grew dark with her woes ; vengeance
took the place of love in her heart towards him
who had so basely wronged her ; and bitterness
against all her species rankled in her breast, and
hourly grew deeper and deeper. Her senses at
length became unsteady. She grew restless and
moody, and, after two years abode with her father,
she wandered forth, leaving with him the boy, and
never more returned to her natal roof. She sought
a wild home in the vicinity of her own son, where
she could daily see him, watch with pride his
growth, and even speak with him unknown and
unsuspected. But when, as he increased in years
and stature, he began to look like his father, she
began to hate him too, though, alas ! it cost her
many a pang to do so.
" She now learned, that on the evening of the day
on which she had been hurled from the balcony,
the husband of the lady, followed by fifty armed
men, surrounded the tower and demanded her sur-
148 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
render of her captor. He replied that he would
give her up on two conditions : first, that his
lands should not be confiscated : secondly, that he
should be permitted to ride forth, wherever he
would, unmolested; which terms the noble lord
promised should be complied with if his lady
should say she had received no insult at his hands ;
and if, further, he would bind himself to quit the
realm within nine days thereafter. To this he as
sented. The gates were shortly after thrown open,
and, mounted on the blood -bay charger which he
always rode, he paced forth from his stronghold,
passed slowly and sternly through the lines of be
siegers, and, after trotting deliberately till he had got
a great ways beyond them, put spurs to his horse
and rode off, no man knew whither : though there
is one knows," she added, mysteriously, as if allu
ding to herself, " that within nine days he was on
the sea, bound to the New World.
".The noble lord took possession of the tower,
and joyfully embraced his lady, and thanked her,
saying, that ' notwithstanding she had been a pris
oner, she had not forgotten to make him a father ;'
and he took up and kissed the babe as if it had
been his own flesh and blood, instead of sharing the
mingled current that flowed in the veins of Hurtel
of the Red-Hand and the fisher's daughter ; and
from thenceforward he took him home and made
him the heir of his house. A little after that this
brave lord fell in the wars, nor ever knew he the
truth to his last dying breath. Thus ends my story,
Lord Robert of Lester ! Who, think you, was this
noble lord and lady ?"
The young man had listened to the latter part of
her narration with thrilling attention. As she was
drawing to the conclusion, he sprang from his feet,
and laid a hand on either shoulder of the narrator,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 149
and looked steadily into her eyes, as if he would
read there the dreadful secret he anticipated, yet
dared not meet. He listened to each word that
fell from her lips with the most absorbing and
painful interest his lips parted his eyes starting
from their sockets his face convulsed, and brought
close to hers his fingers almost buried in the flesh
of her shoulders !' When, at the conclusion, she
put the sarcastic question to him, which he trembled
lest he could too well answer, his hands stole from
her shoulders and suddenly fastened upon her
" Woman ! sorceress ! die !" he hoarsely whis
pered, through his clinched teeth, with terrible
She freed herself from his grasp with an extra
ordinary effort, and flung him from her, laughing
loudly and wildly !
" Ha, ha, ha ! Robert of Lester! Does my story
please thee, my lord ! my retainers ! my domains /"
He looked at her for a moment with appalling
calmness, and then, approaching her, said, in an
even tone, but in a hollow voice that was horrible
" Woman or demon, tell me truly, who was this
noble lady who gave birth to a son?"
" Elizabeth of Lester, the ' Dark Lady of the
Rock,' " was the firm reply.
" Was this change of infants surely made ?" he
asked, in the same tone.
" I have said it."
" And what became of her child ?"
" 'Twas left with the fisherman."
" Does he now live ?" he asked, with sudden in
As a fisher's lad ?"
150 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" He follows the craft of him who reared him."
" On the beach beneath Castle Cor ?"
"You have said."
A strange expression, too complicated to analyze,
passed across his features. But he continued with
the same awful calmness :
" The woman the daughter what became of
" Thou wilt know hereafter."
" And her own boy ha ! was it a boy ?" he ask
" It was."
"He was taken home by my by Lord Les
" Have they had no children since, woman ?"
" None, ever, save him who was born beneath
the roof of ' Hurtel of the Red-Hand.' "
" And this infant this bastard child this low
born boy, grew up within the halls of Castle More
as its liege lord ?"
" He did !"
" And that boy stands before you ?"
" He does !"
His calmness was appalling to witness. She
shrunk from looking him in the face, and cowered
before the light of his eyes.
" Mysterious woman ! how thou earnest by the
knowledge of these things I know not. I believe
thou hast spoken truth ; thy tale hangs too well to
gether for malice to invent."
He struggled with strong emotion. His brow
darkened, his face worked convulsively. At last
he seemed to have resolved on a settled purpose.
" Who knows this hellish secret besides thy
self?" he asked, his penetrating glance resting on
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 151
" None but thee," she said, meeting his eye with
a wary look, as if anticipating danger from the tone
of his voice.
"To every human eye, then, but thine, I am
Lord of Lester ?"
" Who of mortal mould should suspect thee to
be other than he, when she who bore thee not be
lieves thee to be the fruit of her womb."
Thou wilt swear this ?"
1 1 say it."
' 'Tis enough. Does this fisher's boy know the
secret of his birth ?"
Does the old man ?"
: No !"
: Thou wilt swear it ?"
I say it."
1 'Tis well, woman ! Thou shall die !"
As he spoke he drew from his breast his hunting
knife and sprang upon her. She detected the mo
mentary lighting up of his eye ere he made the
spring, and alertly avoided the blow by leaping
through the door : he fell forward, and the blade
shivered against the stone sides of the tower.
With a laugh of derision she fled along the pas
sage pursued by him. Her voice and also her
footsteps ceased as he reached the steps leading
upward from the tomb, and, without any sound to
guide him, he groped his way along the gallery.
At length he approached the light; but, although
he could see through the door out into the forest,
she was nowhere visible ! After vainly searching
every part of the ruin, he abandoned the attempt,
remounted his horse, and spurred towards Castle
152 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Oh God ! how changed my nature with all this !
I, that had been all love and tenderness
The truest and most gentle heart till now
That ever beat grew suddenly a devil !"
Lord Ivan and his Daughter.
WHAT pen can portray, what language describe
the feelings of the haughty Lester, as he rode at
furious speed towards Castle More ? He could
neither think nor reflect ! His thoughts were con
fused and tempestuous. He could not realize that
he had actually listened to the accursed tale with
his own ears. He felt rather as if he had passed
through some dreadful dream, and the idea flashed
on his mind that she had thrown a dark spell upon
his senses, and that the whole was an illusion, and
altogether the result of her art.
By degrees his thoughts became more settled
and run in a direct channel. He checked his head
long speed and began to reflect : to recall, word by
word, the narrative of Elpsy; weigh each sen
tence ; match fact with fact ; each circumstance
with its fellow; and trace the unbroken thread to
the last damning proof. The result was irresisti
ble. A thousand circumstances to corroborate the
tale of infamy rose like phantoms to his shrinking
He remembered how, in childhood, a neighbour
ing baron, who had been out against the insurgents,
playfully laid his hand upon his head, and told him
he looked so much like Hurtel of the Red-Hand
that he must take good care, when he became a
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 153
man, he did not lose his head for the likeness : he
remembered, too, how his childish spirit took fire
at the similitude, and that he resented the insult
with a blow ! He further called to mind how, la
ter in life, the more aged country people, in passing
him, would shake their heads significantly ; and of
ten the whispered words, " Hurtel of the Red-
Hand," would reach his ears. He recollected,
also, how Lady Lester (alas ! no longer, if this
tale were proved true, to be regarded as his mother,
yet whom he had loved hitherto with the intensest
filial affection) had reproved him in his angry
moods, and forbade him to frown so like Hurtel
of the Red-Hand. He called to mind, too, how
that, in childhood (unthought- of again till too faith
ful memory brought it back), it had more than once
reached his ears through the menials, that Lady
Lester, in her youthful days, had been made a
prisoner in some old castle by a rebel chief; and
he could remember he had listened with childish
interest to its recital as to a tale of enchanted cas
tles and cruel giants. Now he could invest it with
a too vivid reality ! He had heard, also, he knew
not how, and what, at the time, left no distinct im
pression on his mind, a scandal which said that
Lady Lester did penance for unfaithfulness in her
early marriage days : this cottage gossip he could
now easily trace to her imprisonment by could he
speak it ? his father He, too, had been twice
called by spirited peasants, who, on certain occa
sions, had resented his arbitrary will a bastard !
All these things rushed to his mind. There was
something in it beyond mere idle gossip some
thing independent of mere accident ! The tale he
had listened to was to him a key to the whole.
The inference was overpowering ! It was as plain
to his mind as the noonday sun, that the story he
154 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
had heard from the lips of Elpsy was founded in
" 'Tis true ! 'tis true ! 'tis TRDE !" he groaned,
covering his face with his hands.
Oh, was not this an appalling and harrowing re
flection for a proud spirit like his ? Was it not a
bitter, bitter cup that was presented to his lips ?
Alas, how cruelly barbed and how skilfully direct
ed how fatally sent, was the shaft of inexorable
fate ! It pierced the spot where alone it could
penetrate ; where its wound would be deepest, and
the smart the keenest. Struck down from its
high seat to the very ground was that pride of
birth which constituted the basis of his character ;
and withered, dead, bruised in the dust lay the
haughtiness of spirit, which, springing from that
soil, had flourished like the green bay-tree.
" Not only lowborn I could bear that, I could
bear that ! but, oh God ! a bastard ! Mercy ! mer
cy ! mercy !"
He hid his face as he gave utterance to these
words, and sobbed audibly. He gave way for a
few moments to the full tide of his strong and af
flicting grief in the most agonizing manner ! His
soul was rent ! his heart was broken ! and, alto
gether, he presented a picture of moral desolation
and mental wretchedness Uiat was appalling to con
template. What thoughts must then have passed
through his mind and wrung his proud soul ! The
reflection that he must abandon all his plans and
hopes as Lord of Lester ; lake leave of the luxuries
to which he had been accustomed ; descend from
the rank of a noble to that of a peasant ; be called
" fellow" by the lowest hind ; bear the scorn of the
highborn and the jeers of the low ; and, most of
all, that he must for ever abandon, without hope,
the love of Kate Bellamont, filled him with wo
such as the heart of man hath seldom known.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 155
" And need I forfeit all these ?" he exclaimed,
suddenly checking the current of his grief, his fea
tures lighting up at the same time with guilty ex
ultation, and assuming an expression of deep deter
mination ; " need I make this sacrifice ? May I not
still be Lord of Lester ?" he cried, rising in his
stirrups and almost shouting with the force of his
thoughts. "Ay, and will I! Ay, and will I!
'Tis but to silence, either with gold or true steel,
this beldame, who is the sole depositary of the
secret of my birth !"
For a moment after giving utterance to this
guilty idea he rode silently along ; his honourable
nature and his inflexible pride both having instantly
risen at the criminal suggestion, and revolted at a
deception so vast. But there were two strong mo
tives which threatened to weigh down these better
promptings, though honour pointed to the course
he should alone pursue. He could not bear his
proud spirit could never brook, that the despised
fisher's lad the humble, low-nurtured peasant
for such he was, notwithstanding his noble birth,
should stand in his place, and he himself oh, it was
madness to think of it sink into the fisher's boy !
" No ! perish honour perish truth perish all
that is noble or virtuous in my nature first !" he
cried, with the reckless decision of one who has re
solved to sustain wrong at the expense of right.
There was a second motive, the love of Kate
Bellamont ! Should he resign her for ever ? Could
he endure the scornful disdain with which he be
lieved she would regard him? Above all, could
he bear to have the handsome fisher's lad, whom
he already looked upon, in some sort, in the light of
a rival, sue successfully as Lord of Lester for her
hand ? Could he endure all this and be human ?
Could he resign all to become what he dared not
contemplate, and live ?
156 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" No !" he cried, vehemently, " away with all jus
tice and truth ! let my heart be wrapped in a mesh
of falsehoods first ! But need there be falsehood ?
Silence, silence will effect it. Is there injustice
when the victim is ignorant of his rights ?" he ask
ed, mentally, as if he were arguing with his own
soul. " Yes, most foul ! and silence will be a liv
ing tongue to torture me a never-ending falsehood
to degrade and will cast over the soul a night that
can never know a dawn ! Shall I incur this load
of guilt? Will what I gain by the purchase repay
me for the sacrifice of truth and honesty ? Shall I
not even be happier, ay, and more noble, as the
poor fisher's lad, having done justice, than as Lord
of Lester and Castle More, convicted at my soul's
tribunal of guilt, and knowing who and what I am ?"
Such was the train of reasoning that insensibly
passed through his mind, and to which he gave ut
terance at this extraordinary crisis of his fate, and
which promised to overthrow his former criminal
- " But should I do as my better nature prompts,"
he continued, after galloping forward a few mo
ments, reining up and pursuing his former train
of reasoning, " I need not be compelled to take
the place of this Lester in his fishing hut, nor
need I to remain within the atmosphere of Castle
More, to meet the scorn of the noble, the insults
of the lowborn. The world is all before me ; I
have a ready spirit, and a hand to sustain it, and
can carve my own way through it ; and with hon
our, too ! Ay, I may yet win a name with the no
blest born !"
Suddenly in the midst of this expression of his
laudable and honourable purpose he stopped ; a
gleam of terrible fire shot from his eyes, while his
face glowed with crimson shame.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 157
" Ha, ha, ha ! honour ! Ha, ha, ha,! a name !
I had forgot," he repeated, with an accent bitter,
sarcastic, and scornful beyond expression, yet with
a wretched look of hopeless despair and misery;
" what has a bastard to do with honour ? What
is it to him ? I had forgotten I was more than
lowborn ! I'faith, 'twas well thought of ! So all
my lofty feelings go for nothing." His manner now
changed, and his voice rang with passion. " What
have / to do with lofty aspirations, with honour,
or a name among men ? Am I not branded with in
famy? infamous by birth; attainted by my father's
yes, for I will acknowledge him my father's
blood ! base through my mother's ! What have I
to do with honour ? 'Tis not for me. I know
it not. Henceforward I will forget its sound and
meaning. What have I to do with honour ? Ha,
ha, ha ! A name ? Yes, I will win a name ; 1 will
show myself the true son of Hurtel of the Red-
Hand. He shall not be ashamed of his blood.
No, no ! I will win a name that, be he on earth or
in hell, shall make him smile and own me as bone
of his bone and flesh of his flesh."
The scornful energy, fierceness of spirit, and
stern determination with which this guilty resolu
tion was spoken, showed that at a single blow was
crushed all pride of character ; that the highborn
loftiness of spirit in which he had been educated
had fallen, and that honour was for ever shipwreck
ed. He felt himself, in anticipation, already an
outcast from the world ; a shunned and despised
alien ; an object of the scorn and pity of mankind.
And such he was. He felt it to his heart's core.
Eventually, perhaps, he might have forgiven the
lowness of his birth, and risen superior to this con
tingency ; but he could not forget its illegitimacy.
What had a bastard to do among men ! What had
VOL. I. O
158 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
he to do with the love of highborn maidens ? What
was to him the luxuries, the pleasures, the social
joys of life ? Nothing. The honours of earth were
not for him ; " a bastard shall not enter even into
the kingdom of heaven." Who, then, shall con
demn the resolution of a proud youth like Lester,
without due cultivation of the moral sense ; unre
strained by religious principle, and thinking, feel
ing only as a man ? Who shall judge and not
pity ? Who shall censure and not sympathize
with him in his terrible human trial, and regard
with charity even the darkest aberrations from
morality and virtue to which it might lead him ;
remembering that he had the moral heroism and
godlike virtue to resolve to become his own exe
cutioner; the voluntary herald of the sentence that
should cut him off from rank, title, wealth, yea,
love, and brand him as an exile from his species ?
Notwithstanding the array of proofs to substan
tiate the narrative of Elpsy ; notwithstanding the ir
resistible connexion existing in his own mind in sup
port of its truth, yet there lingered in his heart a faint
hope that it might not be as he believed. It became
so dreadful when calmly contemplated, that he be
gan to conceive that it was impossible for it to be
true. There was but one way of confirming it, viz.,
to confront Lady Lester, and learn from her lips
the truth of what Elpsy had related in reference to
herself. If it should prove correct, then he resolved
finally to decide on the method he should pursue.
Gathering up the reins and pressing his armed heels
into his horse's flanks as he came to this determina
tion, he said, as he dashed forward to Castle More,
the towers of which were now full in sight,
" From her lips Lady Lester's (if I may not
call her mother), will 1 have corroboration of this
foul witch's words. Fly, my good horse ; we will
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 159
soon learn whether thou and I are to part ! But, if
it must be so, no other shall back thee after me,
my faithful animal ; my own hand shall slay thee
The fleet hunter brought him in a few moments
to the gate that led into the courtyard surrounding
Castle More. At the sound of his approach it flew
wide open, and, as he passed through, the porter
removed his cap and bent low with servile respect.
" Ay," he muttered, " 'tis so now ! but he will
be the first to scoff with a high head, and turn the
key upon my back, when it shall be noised abroad
that Robert of Lester is the brat of a peasant the
left-handed offspring of Hurtel of the Red-Hand !"
He threw himself from his horse, and cast his
bridle to his groom, giving him orders to hold him
in readiness for him to remount at any moment,
and entered beneath the lofty arch of the castle,
over which were elaborately sculptured in stone
the ancient arms of Lester. He rapidly mounted
the spacious stairs to a large and lofty hall, hung
with armour, and adorned with figures of mailed
warriors, ancestors of that warlike house. From
childhood he had looked upon these with awe and
pride. Now he curled his lip with haughty de
spair, and strode past them with a bitter smile.
At its farther extremity he tapped lightly at a door,
partly concealed by tapestry of velvet fringed with
gold, and adorned with needlework representing
figures and scenes of a scriptural character. He
was commanded to enter. With a beating heart,
and choking with the anticipated confirmation of
what left scarce room for a doubt, and which he
had already begun to contemplate as if there were
no question of its truth, he obeyed.
The room into which he was admitted occupied
a small octagonal wing of the building, and from its
160 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
single Gothic window commanded a prospect of the
mere below, the distant forest, and a blue, wavy line
of hills skirting the northern horizon. It appeared
to be used partly as a boudoir and library, partly
as a chapel : a small altar ; a marble font contain
ing water; a crucifix at one end, with two lighted
wax tapers burning before it, appertaining to it in
its more sacred character. It was hung with brown
silk tapestry, on which was worked, in yellow silk,
the history of the martyrdoms of the apostles. Im
mediately about the altar the hangings were of black
velvet, giving that part of the room a religious and
gloomy character. A rich, but soft, light poured in
through the stained glass of the window, and shed
a pleasing glow over all.
Near the window, working with her needle flow
ers of gold on an altar-piece of snow white satin,
sat the mistress of Castle More " the Dark Lady
of the Rock !" She was of a tall and stately fig
ure, with an innate air of high birth and breeding :
her features were strikingly noble, and still bore
traces of eminent beauty. Her eyes were black
and piercing ; and her brows very dark and thick,
yet not masculine, but giving rather softness and in
tellect to the expression of the eyes. Her hair was
jet black, and confined beneath a close nun's cap,
and her complexion was deep brown, which, with
the general dark tinge of her face and features, had
got for her from the peasants the appellation by
which among them she was more commonly desig
nated. The lustre of her fine eyes had given place
to a melancholy hue ; and the smile, which in youth
had fascinated the gallant Lord of Lester, was sad
and pensive. Calmness, gentle resignation, and
devotion were now the characteristics of her coun
tenance. She was evidently one who regarded this
world as the path to that of a happier, and looked
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 161
to that happier for the enjoyment which, without
her deceased lord, she could not find in this. Twelve
years had passed since the news was brought her
that he had fallen before the walls of Saragossa,
breathing her name in his last sigh. From that
hour she seldom had been seen to smile ; but, shun
ning all intercourse with those around her, she com
muned only with her priest and her God.
" I thought I knew the footfall of your horse,
Robert, but did not expect you so soon," she said,
in a quiet, subdued tone ; " there is a quarter of an
hour yet to sunset, and you seldom return from
Castle Cor till it is very late. And Kate's birth
day, too ! How is this ?"
She knotted her thread as she spoke, and look
ed up, showing a countenance chastened by widow
ed sorrow, and wearing, as she gazed upon him, a
kindly look, rather than a smile, of welcome. The
troubled expression of his features ; his flushed
brow ; his excited manner, and nervous tread as
he crossed the floor to the window, struck her with
surprise and alarm.
" What has happened, Robert ? your feelings are
wounded, I fear. Come and tell me what that saucy
maiden, Kate Bellamont, has been saying to give
you such uneasiness."
This was spoken with maternal affection, and an
approach to playfulness of manner.
The young man stood by the window and gazed
down into the placid mere, fixing his eyes vacantly
on a fleet of stately swans that sailed on its glassy
breast, and remained silent. He knew not how
to commence the subject he knew not what to
" Robert, my son," she said, affectionately at
tempting to take his hand, " something has gone
162 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
wrong with you to-day ; make a confidant of your
" Would to God thou wert my mother /" he
cried, almost suffocating.
" Thy mother, Robert ! what do these words
" That my future happiness and misery depend
on your lips," he replied, turning towards her and
grasping her hands with strong emotion.
" Explain !" she said, alarmed and deeply moved
by the distress and earnestness of his manner.
" Did you ever (sustain me, Heaven, at this
moment," he gasped) " ever, face to face, meet
Hurtel of the Red-Hand ?"
" Robert, what motive, so terrible in its effect on
your mind, can have led you to ask this ?"
" Answer me, my mother speak, Lady Les
" Yes !" and she shuddered, as if some painful
incident of the past seemed to press upon her mem
" Where ? Speak, and tell me truly, if you love
me !" he eloquently entreated.
" Heaven and the blessed saints preserve you,
my son ! 'Tis a sad story ! Why would you seek
to know this now ? Be calm ; you are ill very
" No, I am not. Answer me where T
" He took me prisoner, and bore me on horse
"Whither?" he cried, impatiently interrupting
" To his tower."
" And, ere thy husband rescued thee, I was born
" Yes. But how heard you this ? I knew not
that it was known to you, though I had no motive,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 163
surely, in keeping the knowledge of it from you,"
she said, with surprise. " Is it this, then, that has
so strangely excited you, my son ?"
" Who attended on thee at that crisis ?"
" Robert boy !"
"Answer me, Lady Lester, I conjure thee! in
the presence of this holy symbol of our religion !"
he added, with stern solemnity, taking a small dia
mond crucifix from her worktable and holding it
up before her.
" A pale young woman : I fear me, a leman of
that evil man."
" Was she a mother ?"
" Who has taught thee to put such questions as
ihese, young man ?" she said, with something of se-
yerity in her voice.
" Answer me, Lady Lester, I pray thee !"
" She had an infant of three days' old."
** Was it with her in thy room ere thou becamest
a mother ?"
" It was."
"Did you see it?"
" No ; she kept it swathed up, as if from shame."
" Who first gave your infant to your arms ?"
" No one. I had fainted, and, when I came to
my senses, I found my babe lying on the bed be
side me ; and," added the lady, with a mother's light
rekindling in her eyes, " with all a young mother's
first love, I clasped it to my bosom."
"And this woman and her child?"
" I never saw them more. That day my noble
lord rescued me ; and after he had seen and kissed
the babe, I remember he pleasantly said to those
around, ' In losing one I have gained two.' My
poor, departed Lester ! Heaven be merciful to his
" And I am that babe ?" .
164 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Thou art, my son !" she said, affectionately.
" I am not !" he cried, fiercely.
" Not my son ?"
" Not thy son /"
"What mean you, insolent boy?"
" In one word, I will tell thee. The guilty para
mour of that woman having resolved to put out of
the world the living witness of the wrong he had
done her, threatened also her life when she refused
to surrender it. Prompted by the instinct of ma
ternal love to save it, she laid it, while thou wert in
a state of insensibility, by thy side, and gave thine
to him, palming it off as her own, which, by this
stratagem, was saved and still lives. I am HE !"
" Robert of Lester !" cried the lady, rising up
and fixing her piercing eyes, bright with unwonted
fire, upon his face, " mock me not ; spare thy
mother's heart !"
" Before God I speak truly. I am not thy son."
" Holy Virgin ! Mercy, Heaven ! mercy !"
shrieked the lady, and fell nearly lifeless into his
For a few seconds there was a deep silence, like
that of death, throughout that little chamber. He
had not anticipated this ! Absorbed in the contem
plation of his own misery, he had not thought of
the blow he should inflict, by the disclosure of the
dreadful secret, upon the mind of Lady Lester.
It suddenly occurred to him that there was yet a
balm in the existence of her true son which might
heal the wound he had made. Filial affection
caused him immediately to address, and, by touch
ing this chord, endeavour to restore her once more
to life and hope.
" Lady !" he said, in a hoarse tone, that so deep
were the feelings that governed it startled even
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 165
" Ha ! Robert ! my son !" she cried, standing up
and looking wildly in his face ; " what is this I
have heard ? Is it a dream some terrific dream ?"
" Thou hast not dreamed, lady," he said, sadly.
" No, I have not," she cried, with energy, and
with the sudden return of all her faculties ; "no, I
have heard thy lips deny me. Thou hast said I
am not thy mother that thou art not my own
"Do you remember the tale I have told you,
lady ?" he asked, calmly.
"Remember? each word is seared into my
" And do you believe me to be your son ?"
" Believe ? believe ! I know not what to be
lieve. What should I believe ! I believe thou art
my own boy mine, mine, mine /"
As she spoke she threw her arms with frantic
wildness about his neck, and hugged him convul
sively to her bosom.
" Lady, 'tis vain to shut your eyes to the truth.
I am not your son but your son lives !"
" He does, he does live, and I clasp him to my
heart," she cried, energetically, folding him closer
to her bosom.
" Nay nay, but I will hold thee ! they shall not
tear thee from rne ! No, no ! they must take my
heart too, for its strings are bound all about thee,
and thou art tied too long and too strong to it by the
thousand chords of a mother's love to be parted
from it now. Ha, ha ! They shall not part us !
Shall they, boy ?" '
He looked up into her face and saw that her
mind wandered ; that reason was falling from its
" Mother !" he said, in tones of gentle persua-
166 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
sion : " mother !" and he affectionately kissed her
cheeks ; " mother !" he repeated a third time, in
the most touching tones of filial love " I am, I
will be, your own dear son !"
The softer feelings of her soul came back ; all
the mother rushed from the heart to the eyes ; and
dissolved, melted by his appeal, she burst into
tears, and wept freely and long upon his shoulder.
At length she became composed ; when, em
bracing his opportunity, though he had been se
verely tempted in the interval to let it rest for ever,
he spoke again with cautious delicacy upon the fa
tal subject. She listened in silence. She heard
him with calmness as he went on and explained to
her the successive steps by which the exchange
was effected, and unfolded to her, link by link,
the connected chain of the witch's narrative. He
convinced her not of its probability, but of its
possibility. Collecting all her strength of mind,
she tried to contemplate the subject with compo
sure. She succeeded : weighed it well, in all its
parts and bearings ; nicely balanced each particle,
and sifted each doubtful circumstance. Suddenly
she turned to him, and said eagerly, and with an
eye kindling with hope,
" It may not be so, Robert ! She may, in the
agitation of the moment, when both were swathed,
have caught up her own child !"
" At such a moment, above all, would a mother
know her own !" he said, firmly, but looking as if
he would, if he dared, still cherish a hope.
" Yes, yes ; and she must, too, have seen it after
ward," she said, in a tone of deep despondency.
" But who told thee this fatal tale ?" she asked,
" Elpsy, the sorceress !"
" Ha !" exclaimed the lady, turning pale. " I
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 167
fear, then, it is too true ! This fearful woman has
knowledge of hidden and wondrous things through
her unholy art. Oh, God ! that she had used it to
a better end ! But, then, there may have been a
mistake ! Malice her hatred of her species may
have caused her to give the facts this frightful turn !
Dreadful being! thus to loose, even by raising a
doubt of thy birthright, my last hold on earthly
happiness, and wreck all my hopes in thee. Her
face ever has haunted me as if for evil ! It seems
to me as if I had seen it in the dreams of my child
hood. I know not how it is, but I never looked
upon her without presentiments of evil and vague
sensations of suffering, as if her very presence was
associated with scenes of terror. Now are they all,
indeed, realized ! But I will not give thee up,
Robert, my son my own son !" she cried, fran
tically ! " I will cling to the hope that the fatal ex
change was not made !"
He suffered her to embrace him again and
again, and then, after a few moments' silence, and
speaking in an indifferent tone, he said,
" Lady Lester ! Was thy noble husband of fair
" No, dark as the Spaniard's, yet it was exceed
ingly rich to the eye with its bright blood !" she
said, with conjugal pride.
" Were his eyes blue ?"
"Black as night, large and staglike, yet soft as
a fawn's in the gentleness of their expression but
terrible as the eagle's when roused."
" Were his locks golden ?"
" The plumage of the raven not more black and
" Was he tall of stature and strongly-framed ?"
" Scarce even as tall as thyself now ; his frame
was light and elegant, but manly : to sum him up
168 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
in all," she said, carried away by the prideful recol
lections awakened by these allusions to him, " he
was a statesman ; a patron of letters and the arts ; a
gallant knight, a brave soldier, and an accomplished
scholar : he was called the handsomest man of his
time : above all, he was a Christian !"
" Am I like him . ? " asked Lester, startling her
with the depth of his voice, and at once showing
her the drift of his seemingly aimless questions.
" Is my stature slight ? are these locks raven ? are
these eyes black ? is the hue of the Spaniard on
my cheek ?"
The lady shrunk from his words, covered her
face with her hands, and despairingly shook her
"Say," he added, with increasing energy, "is
there the faintest lineament in my face a scarce
perceptible cast of the eye a bend of the brow
a movement of the lip a motion of arm or finger
aught in my carriage, walk, or voice, that reminds
thee of thy noble husband ?"
" No, no, no ! Stop, stop, you will kill me !"
" One word more ! Answer me truly, Lady
Lester, as you stand before Heaven, have I not
the same fair skin the same light flowing hair
the same blue eyes the stature, the very voice
ay, the very selfsame frown of Hurtel of the Red-
" Ha ! now I see it ! Oh, Jesu Maria ! Thou
art his very image ! Mercy, mercy, mercy !" and,
with a shriek wrung from a breaking heart, she fell,
as if dead, upon the floor.
For a few moments he stood gazing upon her
with the cool, decisive smile of a man for whom
fate has done her worst, and who defies and laughs
to scorn her farther triumphs over his soul. His
fixed countenance was more fearful than phrensied
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 169
agitation or tremendous wrath. It was the dark,
still cloud that rests upon the crater ere the volca
no bursts into flame. Gradually, as he gazed on
that beloved countenance, pale and deathly in its
aspect, he sunk on his knees beside her, took her
insensible hands within his own, and kissed her un
conscious brow, while fast and thick dropped the
heavy tears upon her face.
" Mother, for mother thou art, indeed !" said he,
feelingly, " I would not have struck this blow to
thy heart ; but I could not stand before thee a de
ceiver, an impostor ! I could not encounter the
affectionate glance of thy pure eyes, meet thy gaze
of maternal love, and know they were not mine.
Yet thou art my mother ! all the mother I have
ever known. Have I not drawn life from that
breast ? Has not my infant head been pillowed from
the first on that maternal bosom ? Didst thou not
hear me when my infant lips first lisped thy ma
ternal name ? Hast thou ever known other son than
me I other parent ? Thou art my mother ! I am
thy son, though the blood of strangers, whom I
have never known, flows in my plebeian veins !
Mother, we must part ! The house of Lester may
not have a baseborn lord ! Would to God I could
have turned aside this stroke from thee ! But it
is past ! Henceforward thou art nothing to me
I nothing to thee. Farewell, farewell, my own, my
beloved mother !"
He bent over her, and affectionately and pas
sionately embraced her, pressing his lips to hers,
and bathing her face with his hot tears. She
seemed to be awakened to sudden consciousness
by the act ; and throwing her arms about him, she
faintly articulated, " My son ! my son !" and re
lapsed into insensibility. He clasped her uncon
scious form in one more long embrace, kissed her
VOL. I. P
170 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
for the last time, and gently disengaged himself
from her arms.
His movements became now direct and decided.
He approached the escritoir, and hastily wrote on a
leaf of her missal,
" Lady Lester nay, mother dearest MOTHER !
I have just taken my last leave of you. I go forth
into the world and commit rny fortune to its cur
rents. Baseborn guilty-born attainted by my
father's crimes, I am unworthy your love or a
place in your thoughts. Henceforward let me be
nothing to thee ! Forget that I have ever existed.
Though I depart, yet is Lester not without an heir !
you not without a son ! Thy child thou wilt find
with the fisherman Meredith, at Castle Cor. He
is the perfect semblance of thy husband, Robert,
Lord of Lester, as you have described him to me ;
and, when your eyes behold him, your heart will
at once claim him. He is proud and high-spirited,
and worthy of the name he is destined to bear.
Seek him out ; and may he fill the place in your
heart from which I am for ever excluded. Fare
well, my mother, for other mother than thee have
I never known will never know !
" -Son ofHurtel of the Red-Hand."
He placed the paper open before the crucifix,
where she was wont to pray, and was himself un
consciously in the act of kneeling to seek a bless
ing from Heaven, when he hastily recovered his
erect attitude, saying, with a thrilling laugh of
" Never more do I bend the knee to Heaven !
What have I to do with prayer ?"
He approached the door, and then turned back
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 171
to gaze an instant with a melancholy look on the
prostrate form of Lady Lester :
" Nay, I must not leave thee so !" he said : return
ing, he tenderly raised her up, and used means to
After a few moments she revived and gazed
wildly around her.
" Robert, is it you ? are you beside me ? Oh,
my son, I have had such a tale of horror revealed
to me as I slept."
She pressed her fingers upon her eyelids as if
to recall what appeared to her a dark dream. As
she did so he stole from her towards the door
lingered turned back severed a bright lock from
his temples, pressed it to his lips, and placed it
within her hand ; he then hastily kissed her pale
forehead, saying, half aloud,
" Here I bury all human feelings /"
The next moment he precipitately fled from the
Roused by the sound of the closing door, she
shrieked his name, and, hastening through the dark
hall, called in tones of distressing anguish,
" Robert, my son ! my boy ! my dear boy !
leave not your mother desolate !''
He stopped his ears to the sounds, quickened
his steps, and threw himself into his saddle.
" 'Tis full late, my lord, to ride forth alone,"
said the groom, as he held the stirrup.
" Lord me not, Tyrell. If thou hast chanced to
be born in wedlock, thou hast better blood in thy
veins than I !"
" How mean you, my lord ?" said the astonished
" Didst ever hold stirrup for a fisher's son ?"
" No, my lord !"
" Thou liest. For thou hast but now done so.
172 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
Your lord has found out that he is but a fisher-
woman's brat ; and a fisher's brat is about to find
out that he is a lord."
" You speak in riddles, my lord."
" Set thy wits, and those of yonder gaping fel
lows, to work to unriddle them," was the reply of
the degraded youth as he buried his spurs deep in
his horse's flanks. " Give the compliments of the
son of Hurtel of the Red-Hand to your new lord,
knaves, and say he has taken the liberty to borrow
his hunter for a time !" he cried, turning round in
the saddle as he rode off.
The next moment he dashed across the draw
bridge and disappeared in the twilight gloom of the
forest, leaving the wonder-stricken retainers to pick
the kernel from the difficult nut he had left them
to crack ; and, by putting their sage heads together,
with the aid of some expressions dropped by the
frantic Lady Lester, they were not long in arriving
at a shrewd guess at the truth.
" Guiltless am I, but bear the penalty '"
* * * ' * *
" Wild was the place, but wilder his despair :
Low shaggy rocks that o'er deep caverns scowl
Echo his groans : the tigress in her lair
Starts at the sound, and answers with a growl."
From the topmost height of his ambition,
It became his ambition to mate him
With the lowest."
THE night was fast approaching as the desolate
outcast entered the forest. He hailed the gather
ing darkness with joy, for it was in unison with the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 173
gloom of his soul. The howl of the wildest storm
would have been music to his ears ! He could
have mocked with shouts of gladness the rattling
thunder, and played with the shafts of the glittering
He rode deep into the wood whither he cared
not so that he left behind him all that he had lost.
For half an hour he thought of nothing but urging
his horse forward at the top of his speed. He
banished thought, reflection, sensation. He dared
not think. He found relief only in animal action
and rapid motion, and rode furiously onward with
out knowing or regarding the course taken by his
horse, who instinctively followed the dark windings
of the forest paths.
At length the moon rose and shone down upon
him through the tree tops. Its light seemed to re
store him to himself. He checked his rapid course,
and gazed at her pale orb ; as he looked, reflection,
returned, and he began to realize his situation, and
to taste the full bitterness of the cup of which he
had drunken. The past, the present, the future,
flashed with all their naked colours upon his mind.
The picture his imagination painted with the hues
they lent was too appalling to contemplate ; and,
as if the fabled influence of the planet, the soft
light of which had restored him to reflection, had
acted upon his fevered brain, he was suddenly con
verted into a maniac. He rose upright in his stir
rups, and shouted, shrieked, till the forests rang
again. He shook his clinched fists at the placid
moon, that seemed smilingly to mock his woes.
He spurred on his horse till the animal groaned
with pain, and plunged madly forward with his
phrensied rider ! He would then rein him up,
and, gnashing his teeth, lift his hands above his
head, and curse God and man. Then he would
174 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
again shout with phrensy, and gore his steed till
he became furious and snorted with rage, and ride
once more forward with the speed of the wind.
These passions were too violent to last. His
wild excitement gradually subsided ; his horse was
suffered to move at his own pace ; and, with his
arms folded moodily, and his chin drooping on his
breast, he gave himself up to the stern and gloomy
thoughts of his situation, and, for a time, buried in
the depths of his own meditations, seemed to be
wholly unconscious of external objects. He rode
on in this way for more than an hour, when he was
aroused by the sudden stopping of his horse. He
looked up and saw before him a dilapidated gate,
which barred his farther progress. Beyond, visi
ble by the full flood of moonlight, was a lonely
square tower, flanked by a single wing, topped with
a battlement. He listened, and thought he heard
the dashing of waves upon the beach. The whole
scene was new to him ! Where could his faithful
steed have borne him ? From the moment he had
left Castle More behind all had seemed like a blank
to him. How far, and whither, could he have rid
den ? He looked up at the moon. It had not risen
when he left Castle More, yet it now rode high in
the heavens ! By her position it was near midnight.
Indifferent where he wandered, he leaped the
sunken gate, and rode up to the tower. It was
not in ruins, yet wore an aspect of desolation and
neglect. Its loneliness harmonized with his own
situation, and was grateful to him. He rode round
the angle of a buttress, when the sea suddenly
opened before him, and he saw that the tower stood
on a rock thirty or forty feet above it, and that
where it overhung the water projected a small bal
cony. A sudden thought flashed upon his mind
as he discovered this.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 175
" It must be !" he exclaimed, with animation ;
" 'tis the tower of Hurtel of the Red-Hand ! This
moat, yonder ruined drawbridge, its situation, and,
above all, that balcony, one and all, identify it
with Elpsy's description. By the bones of my
red-handed sire ! thou knewest what thou wert
about to bring me hither, sagacious animal !" he
added, sarcastically, patting the noble horse on the
neck ; " 'tis fitting I should take possession of my
father's towers with the inheritance of his name.
Ha, ha ! I am not quite a vagabond !" and he
He started with surprise, for the laugh seemed
to be echoed from the tower.
" 'Twas a human voice, or else a spirit mock
ing ! If demons do rejoice over the miseries of
mankind, they may well hold a jubilee in honour of
mine. Laugh on, imps ! I am a fit subject for your
merriment !" and he laughed with nervous derision.
Again he started, for he was answered by a
laugh so wild that it chilled his blood. The sound
seemed to proceed from an upper room in the
wing of the building.
" Fiend or flesh, it shall rue this merriment !"
he cried, leaping to the ground and hastening to the
door of the tower.
It was ajar ; he dashed it open with his heel, and
found himself in a long, low hall, at the extremity of
which was the window that opened on the balcony,
through which he caught a glimpse of the glimmer
ing sea. By the light it afforded he crossed the
hall, and, standing on the balcony, glanced an in
stant over the vast moonlit expanse of water, and
then, with a strange interest, the whole of Elpsy's
story rushing vividly to his mind, he shudderingly
cast his eyes down the rock which stood in deep
shadow. Even by the indistinct light he could dis-
176 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
cern the sharp projection on which the garments of
the infant had caught in its descent, and not four
feet distant from him, on a level with the window,
was the rock on which the fisher's daughter his
mother was in the act of springing, when hurled
into the sea by his father. On that very balcony
had he stood to do the deed ! Strange, wonderful,
overpowering were his sensations. He held his
breath with the intensity of his thoughts.
" Here," said he, mentally, placing his hand on
the balustrade, " has lain my unknown mother's
hand ; it warmed this senseless iron, which can
give me back no warmth in return. Here pressed
the foot of my father ! Here they parted ! How !
ah, how 1 Where are they now ? Where is he ?
does he live ? Where is she ? A fearful thought
forces itself upon me that I dare not dwell upon !
This strange tale of the sorceress ; her wonderful
and minute knowledge, that could be only known
to the actor ; her emotion at different portions of
the story ; a hundred things, light as air, that have
insinuated themselves into my mind, have made
me think she might be fiends ! it will out! my
mother ! But, then, she told me that she was dead.
Well, be it so, yet I can fall no lower ! W r ere my
mother living, could her lot be better than this fear
ful weird woman's ? Ha, ha, ha ! I have no pride
now !" he added, with a hollow laugh of mingled
despair and phrensy.
" Ha, ha, ha !" he heard repeated, in tones so
unearthly that his heart ceased to beat, and a thrill
like ice shot through his veins.
The next moment he was at the top of a flight
of steps leading from one side of the hall to an up
per room, from which the voice seemed to proceed.
A stream of moonlight, falling through a window,
showed him a door on the landing-place, which he
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 177
threw open. He found himself in a small room,
lighted by a lattice of crimson-stained glass look
ing south towards the sea : into it the moon, in its
western circle, had just began to shine, its red-died
beams tinting the twilight of the chamber with the
hue of blood. Seated high in the recess of the win
dow, he discovered the dark figure of a female ; her
knees drawn up to her chin, and her hands clasped
together around them. As he opened the door she
leaped down like a cat and sprang towards him.
The sanguinary light of the room had affected his
imagination, not untinged with the superstitious
fears of his time ; but this sudden apparition, though
he had prepared himself to see something either
human or supernatural, caused him to start back
with an exclamation of surprise.
" Come in, Robert of Lester ! I welcome you
to the room which first welcomed you to the light,"
said she, in a voice which he at once recognised as
that of the sorceress.
The singular information her words conveyed
suspended for the moment all other emotions in his
mind save curiosity at finding himself so unex
pectedly in the chamber where he was born. He
gazed about him for a few moments under the in
fluence of the strange thoughts and emotions the
circumstance called up, and then turning towards
" Why art thou here, wicked woman ? Didst
thou anticipate rny presence, and art thou come to
mock the misery thou hast wrought ?"
" I fled lest thou shouldst do a deed of blood thy
hand might rue. I fled not for myself, but for
" You need not fear me now. There exists no
longer any motive for secrecy," he said, gloomily.
" How mean you ?" she eagerly asked.
178 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" Ere to-morrow's sun, 'twill be in every boor's
mouth, from Castle Cor to Kinsale, that I am no
longer Lord of Lester !"
" Speak explain !" she said, hoarsely, grasping
his arm with both hands, and breathing quick and
" I have told the Lady Lester that he whom
she thought her son was not her son," he firmly
" Ha ! tJiou thou hast told thy shame ? Speak,
Robert More have you breathed to mortal ear
what I have told thee of thy birth ?" she demand
ed, with fearful energy of speech and manner.
"I have. 'Tis known to every servitor from
hall to stable !"
"Didst give thy name ?"
" Robert, son of Hurtel of the Red-Hand."
" And this did thine own lips, of thine own free
" Never man spoke freer !"
" Then hell be thy portion ! Accursed be ye,
Robert Hurtel ! Had I thought thou wouldst have
become the trumpeter of thy shame had I be
lieved thou wouldst have breathed to mortal ear
thine infamy, I would have seared my tongue with
hot iron ere I would have told thee the secret of
thy birth. The infernal demon has prompted thee
to do this ! Didst thou not seek to slay me, that
thou shouldst be the sole keeper of the foul se
" I did, at the moment, but thought better of it !"
" Base ! lowborn ! miserable that thou art !
Why was not my tongue withered ere I told thee
" Would to God it had been, woman. What
was thy motive in ever letting it go from thy own
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 179
" Love of mischief hatred of mankind ; and to
lower thy pride, knowing from what dunghill thou
wert sprung. But I did not think thou wouldst
use my secret thus ; and wreck the gifts that
that thy mother's stratagem had purchased, and
after secured to thee by years of absence, privation,
" How ?"
" Did she not, for thy sake, keep the secret of
thy birth coming not even near thee when, on
the ninth day, Hurtel of the Red-Hand being gone
over the sea, she might safely have claimed thee of
Lady Lester, and given her back her own !" she
" Rather for her own sake from maternal pride
at having her son sit among nobles," was the stern
reply. " And if these were her motives, as I doubt
not they were, at what price did she purchase this
honour for her child? The price of the deepest
guilt, by keeping the true heir from his birthright.
I did not view it in this light before. By the cross !
I am a well-born ! a guilty mother, too ! 'Tis well
you told me she was no more ; I should care little
to meet her in my present mood."
As he spoke, the woman sunk her head upon her
bosom, and deep groans escaped her, whether of
defeated hopes, of sorrow, of shame, or of remorse,
he knew not. Suddenly he laid his hand upon her
arm, and looked impressively in her face, and said,
" Woman ! who is my mother ?"
" Thou wilt never know !"
Art thou ?"
"Ha, ha, ha! I? Do I look like the gentle
maiden that won the love of Hurtel of the Red-
Hand? Are these matted locks tresses of gold?
Is this complexion like the blended ivory and rose ?
Is my voice soft and full of love ? Are my eyes
180 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
like the gazelle's, and gentle as the dove's in their
expression ? Is this hideous form such as would
lure youth to embrace it. ? Wilt thou acknowledge
thyself the son of ' the witch' ' the sorceress'
' the beldame Elpsy' (such were thy gentle terms)
the beleagued with demons the familiar of the
evil one the "
" No, no ! Avaunt !" he shouted, with a furious
gesture ; " thank God ! I am not sunk so low as
" Ha, ha ! Thy pride is fallen far indeed when
it can enter thy thoughts, and even go from thy
lips, that Elpsy of the Tower gave thee birth. Oh,
ho ! I am well avenged in this for thy mad folly in
throwing away thy earldom. Oh, how I do hate
thee for that act ! for it thou shall never know
peace in body or soul !"
" I defy thee, woman, and all thy arts !"
" Yet the tales of my deeds have made thy hu
man soul to shrink ! Beware how thou speakest
lightly of what thou knowest naught, and which is
hid from mortal ken !" she added, with mysterious
and solemn earnestness. " Whither turn thy foot
steps now, Lord of Lester ?" she asked, with chill
ing irony. " Doubtless thou hast come to take
possession of thy fair lands here. They are not so
broad, indeed, as the domains of Castle More, and
thy castle needs some furnishing and repair. Doubt
less thou wouldst like to fit it up ere thou bringest
home to be its mistress the fair Kate of Bellamont !"
" Breathe that name again, woman, and I will
take thy life !"
" Thou art now thy very father's image !" she
said, with derision. " Even in this moonlight I can
see that devilish shape of the eyes that his were
wont to assume when he meditated murder ! Ho !
I dare to say thou wilt be like him in more than
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 181
the glance of the eye. Dost mean to follow in his
footsteps, and head a band of lawless insurgents ; or
wilt thou, as 'tis said his brother did "
" His brother ?"
" Thou didst not know before thou hadst once
an uncle ? So : thou shall no longer be kept in ig
norance. He was a bold, bad man, and therein
true to his race ; was called Black Hurtel, and
roved the Danish seas a daring bucanier. 'Twas
said he could float his ship in the blood of the men
he had slain ! He was killed on j,he French coast
in a fierce fight ; but his vessel was captured, and
his dead body, with his living crew (for the captors
would not leave one alive to blacken the face of the
earth), were sunk in the deep sea. Perhaps, like
him, thou wilt take to the wave, and carve thy for
tune in blood ! Blood is sweet, and there is music
to the ear in its gurgle where it is shed with a free
hand ! Look you," she said, policing through the
window ; " the sea is spread wide before you, and
seems to invite thee with its glancing waves. It
knows not of thy disgrace, nor has it voices to whis
per thy infamy ; while every bird, tree, and stone
wil) nod and gossip to one another as thou pass-
" ' There goes he who was the Lord of Lester !' "
" Woman, you madden me !"
"Perhaps," she continued, in the same cutting
tone, while he paced the little chamber with a
phrensied step, " thou wilt rather come and share
my tower i'the ruin, if the new Lord of Lester
will give thee leave ; doubtless he will honour
thee by asking thee to hold his stirrup on occasion.
But, if thou wilt rather habit in this tower, I will be
thy seneschal. I love its old gray walls ! many is
the moonlight night I've sat in the window and
looked on the sea, as it danced, and glimmered, and
VOL. I. Q
182 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
: t* '' ^
seemed to beck and nod, and laugh when I laugh
ed. Ha, ha ! I have had brave times here, gossip-
ping with the sea !"
As she said this she looked from the window,
and suddenly her eye seemed to be arrested by
some unexpected sight. She gazed for a moment
eagerly, and then said, in the enthusiastic tone and
manner of a sibyl, skilfully assumed with the tact
of one accustomed to turn to her own purpose
every passing circumstance,
" Look thou, Robert Huvtel ! I have had pity on
thy state, and have, by the art thou hast dared to
scorn, brought from many a far league away, to thy
tower's foot, a ship to waft thee and thy fortunes !
See how proudly it stands in towards the land,
looking like a great white spirit, with the moon
glancing on its canvass wings. Oh, 'tis a brave
" The young man (her words taunting, malicious,
and hateful as they were, not having been without
some effect in influencing him in determining on his
future course) sprang alertly to the window and
gazed with interest on the approaching vessel. It
was about a third of a mile from the land, standing
directly towards the tower before a light breeze. It
was apparently about seventy tons burden, short
and heavily built, rising very high out of the water,
with a very lofty stern. It had three masts, each
consisting of one entire stick, tapering to a slender
point, and terminated by a little triangular flag. On
each mast was hoisted a huge, square lugger's sail,
which, with a short jib, stretched from the head of
the foremast to a stunted bowsprit, and a sort of tri-
sail or spanker aft worked without a boom, was all
the canvass she carried or that belonged to her pecu
liar class of craft.
He watched it with eager attention as it came
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 183
bounding landward, flinging the glittering spray
from its round bows, its wet sides shining in the
moonlight as if sheathed with plates of silver. A
chaos of hopes, wishes, and conflicting resolutions
agitated his mind as it approached : after a short
struggle, he resolved to throw himself on board
if her master would receive him, and depart with
her wherever the winds should waft her. Hav
ing come to this determination, he watched her mo
tions with additional interest ; and when, after com
ing in so close to the shore that he could discern
that her decks were crowded with men, she wore
round and stood northward, his heart sank within
him ; and, dashing his hand through the crimson
glass, he was about to hail, when Elpsy checked
" Hold ! see you not they are only coming up
to wind to lie to ! Look ! they are already swing
ing round their clumsy sails."
The vessel came up slowly and heavily to the
wind, and, by means of her mainsail, lay as still as
if at anchor. In a few moments afterward, as they
eagerly watched, they saw a boat let down, and
several men descend over the side into it. He ut
tered a joyful exclamation when he saw this move
ment ; and, without reflecting upon the character of
the vessel, or the object it could have in view in
landing on so retired a coast at such a time, he only
thought of it as a means of bearing him from the
hateful shore, and perhaps opening for him some
path to action and mental excitement.
" See that flash ol light on her deck ! There is
another gleam !" ^claimed Elpsy.
" 'Tis the glancing of the moonbeams on steel !"
he replied, in a gratified tone.
" There is a sound a man should know !" she
184 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" 'Tis the ringing of arms !" he replied, in the
same animated manner.
" What think you they are, young man ?" asked
she, with a peculiar smile, laying her hand impres
sively on his arm.
" I know not, nor care, so I may cast my fortune
with them !"
" Thou art, of a truth, thy father's son !"
" And, by the cross, he shall not be ashamed
to own me !" he replied, in a desperate and de
" I will tell thee what they are for I have passed
my life by the seaside, and know the nature, and
have learned to know the occupation and nation of
each ship by its fashion, as I would tell a trades
man's by his garb."
" What, then, is the nation of this barque ?"
" He is a Dane."
" Its nature ?"
" To sail in shallow waters, and run before the
" Its business on the sea ?"
" To rob, pillage, and slay !"
" Ha, a bucanier ?"
" A Dane."
"'Tis but another name for pirate in these wa
ters. By the cross ! when I saw the glitter of
steel in the hands of its crew, I half guessed it."
" Wilt thou now link thy fate with theirs ?"
" Am I not fit to be their comrade ? Are they out
casts ; what am I ? Are they branded with shame ;
who am I ? Has society cast thejp from its bosom;
was I not born in bastardy ? Am I not fallen lower
than the lowest he among them who hath been born
in wedlock ? Why should I hesitate to mate with
my fellows ? What has the honourable world to in
vite me to ? What if I could bury in oblivion from
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 185
the reach of my own thoughts the black stain upon
my birth and hitherto noble name, and, under a
new one, with a strong heart and virtuous resolves,
throw myself into the arena of honourable contest,
and should succeed in winning a name that men
would do homage to should I not wear it, feeling
that a sword was suspended by a hair above my
" How mean you ?" she asked, struck with the
impassioned and despairing tones of his voice.
" I mean that, if, after carrying the secret like a
living serpent coiled in my heart for years, I should,
without suspicion, chance to win a fair name, the
time at length would come when some one, with a
too faithful memory, would recognise the bastard
Hurtel the quondam Lester in the successful ad
venturer ; and then No, no !" he said, bitterly,
" no, no ! It may not be ! The presence of this
ship points me to the course I should pursue. I
obey the fate that has directed it hither !"
" Wilt thou become a pirate ?" she said, with a
natural and feeling manner, as if prompted by some
suddenly-awakened interest in him. " Yesterday
Lord of Lester to-day a pirate !"
" Curse the tongue that told thee of thy birth !
But," she continued, muttering with her usual quick
tones and nervousness of manner, " it was so pleas
ant to tell him, for his father's sake, he looked so like
him ! And then it was a pleasure to humble his
pride, which he made even me the victim of : and
so, as my master would have it, I could not, for the
life o' me, longer help telling him the love-story I
had kept so many years in my heart for him. Ho !
ho ! ha ! ha ! and a pleasant tale it was, too !" she
added in that phrensied strain which seemed to be
most natural to her.
186 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
While she was speaking the boat, which appear
ed to be full of men, put off from the vessel, and
they could distinctly hear the command to "let
fall," followed by the splash of the falling sweeps.
" Give way !" in a stern, deep tone, came di
rectly afterward distinctly to their ears ; and, shoot
ing out from the vessel's side, the boat moved in to
wards the cliff.
As it neared the shore, one of the men stood up
in the stern, and was heard to command them to
cease pulling ; and, for a few seconds afterward,
he seemed to be reconnoitring the beach. Appa
rently satisfied with his scrutiny, he ordered them to
give way again, steered directly to the foot of the
tower, and skilfully run the boat alongside of the
rock almost beneath the window.
" Now lay off an oar's length from the shore, and
wait for me," said the one who had steered the
boat, and who appeared to be the leader. " Be on
the alert against surprise, though there's little fear
of any one being within a league of the old tower.
Carl, you and Evan take the coil of rigging and
come with me."
As he spoke he leaped on the projection of the
rock; then measuring the cliff with his eye, he
placed his cutlass between his teeth and began to as
cend. By the aid of numerous fissures and bold
spurs jutting out from the sides he reached the top,
closely followed by his men. Here he paused a mo
ment, resting on his cutlass, and looked about him.
He stood directly beneath the window from which
Elpsy and the young man were looking, and was
plainly visible to them. He was a short, stout-
built man, with a ruddy complexion, browned by the
winds and suns of every clime. His hair was gray,
and hung in straight locks about his ears ; and, judg
ing by the deeply-indented lines of his weather-worn
visage, his age was about, fiftv ; yet his compactly-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 187
built figure, his light motions, and athletic appear
ance, gave indications of many years less. His
countenance, turned upward to their full gaze in
his survey of the tower, wore an expression of care
less jovially, united with desperate hardihood. The
most striking characteristic of his face was a thick
red mustache covering his upper lip. He had on
his head an immense fur cap, and wore a short, full
frock of a dark shade, secured at the waist by a
broad belt, stuck with large, heavy pistols of the
kind known, at the period, as the hand-harquebuss.
He wore, also, voluminous breeches of buff leather,
buckled at the knee, red cloth gaiters, and high-
quartered shoes with pointed toes, and garnished
with sparkling buckles of immense size. By his
side hung the empty sheath of the sabre on which
he leaned. His men, save the fur cap, for which
they substituted red woollen ones of a conical form,
and the frock, instead of which they wore long
jackets, were breeches, buckler, shoes, and gaiters
his counterpart in apparel.
" 'Tis the very spot I once knew it ! The un
changed sea the rock this gray tower ! It seems
as if but a day, and not eighteen years, had passed
since I banqueted here with Hurtel of the Red-
Hand," he said to himself, gazing round with re
vived recollections at each object. " Well, strange
things have happened since ! He is dead, or an
exile with a price on his head ; all our brave band
scattered ; and I, only, am left to stand once more
on this familiar spot. The old rookery looks des
olate enough, and seems to sympathize with its
master's fortunes ! Open your lantern, Carl, and
let us enter ! This moon wtfll scarce afford light
where I wish to penetrate ! Heaven grant no evil
spirit haunts here to keep guard over the treasure
I have come to carry off ! But, if it still remains,
188 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
I will e'en cross blades with the devil for it, and win
it, will he, nil he."
He passed as he spoke round the tower, and the
next moment the listeners heard the heavy footsteps
of the three men echoing through the hall. The
young man was about to spring from the room to
meet them, when Elpsy held him back.
" Would you run upon death ! They would
sheathe their cutlasses in your body ere you could
open your lips. Hold, and hush ! There is time
enough. We will see what their purpose is. I
have half a guess, from his words, at their busi
" Hurtel of the Red-Hand, the story goes, had
secreted in some part of the tower large sums of
silver and gold, with which to aid the conspiracy
he headed. He had neither time nor means to
take it away with him, and doubtless it still re
mains here, and this bucanier is acquainted with the
" Ha !" he exclaimed, with surprise, " who told
thee this ?"
"Rumour, said I not!" she replied, after a mo
" And how should these know where to look for
what has been concealed for years ?"
" Hark !" she cried, as a heavy noise reached
them from a distant part of the building, "they
have opened the trap of the tower, and will de
scend into the vaults. He is one that knows well
" Doubtless, from his language, some one of
my hospitable parerit'-s fellow-chiefs, who used to
revel here in the days you tell of. I will see what
they do, and take opportunity of forming good fel
lowship with my father's friend. Nay but let me
go, woman !"
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 189
He broke from her as she attempted to detain
him, and, cautiously opening the door, descended
with a cautious and rapid step into the hall. At
its opposite extremity he saw, by the glimmer of a
lamp held by one of them, the two men standing
over an opening in the floor, and their leader just
in the act of letting himself down into the subter
ranean chamber beneath.
" Hold the ladder steady, Evan !" he said.
" Thrust your lantern down at arm's length, Carl,
so that I can see where to place my foot. Ha !
there, I find bottom," he added, his voice sounding
hollow from the depth ; " 'tis dark and damp as a
Calcutta blackhole ! Faith, it's more like a tomb
than an honest underground apartment. I hope I
shall not see Hurtel's ghost guarding his box.
Tumble down here, boys, and be ready to hand
above decks as soon as I find out where it's stow
ed away !"
The others, leaving their cutlasses behind, fol
lowed him into the vault. Their heads had no
sooner disappeared than the young man crossed
the hall with a free step to the trapdoor, and look
ed fearlessly after them. He had from the first,
when the vessel came in sight, deliberately resolv
ed to attach himself to the party ; and now the
frank, blunt manner of the old sea-rover struck his
fancy, and confirmed him in his resolution. But
he was at a loss how to make his intentions
known how first to address men ready to shed
blood on the instant without question, and among
whom, at such a time, the very discovery of his
presence might be fatal ere he could make known
to the chief his intentions. While watching them
as they groped about through the vast vault, an
idea, characteristic of his now reckless disposition,
suggested by the ghostly apprehensions of the
190 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
leader, entered his mind. He paused for an in
stant, and then, favoured by the darkness, dropped
noiselessly into the chamber. With a step that
gave back no sound, he approached them as they
moved in an opposite direction from him, throwing
the light all forward, and waited the opportunity
he had chosen for discovering himself.
" 'Tis twelve paces to the south, eight paces to
the east, and six paces to the west again which
will bring me to the wall, and on the very stone
Red Hurtel and I placed over the gold," said the
captain ; " here are twelve paces, well told !" he
added, placing his foot immediately afterward em
phatically on the stone floor.
These words at once gave the youth a key to the
course he should adopt. His quick eye, as the
leader turned to pace east, comprehended the re
maining angle at a glance, and, gliding away by the
wall, he moved cautiously and noiselessly along till
he felt his foot press upon a loose slab. He knew
he must be on or near<lhe spot; and drawing himself
to his full height, and unconsciously assuming a
stern and resolute look, called up by the novelty
and danger of his situation, he waited the angular
advance of the captain, who, with his men, was too
intent on accurately marking his steps to look up
even for a moment.
" Now west !" said the leader ; and, turning as he
spoke, he had counted on to four, five, and was
about to take the last step to the wall, when, pro
nounced in a deep tone, that rung hollow through
the vault, he heard the word,
" Forbear !"
He lifted his eyes and fell back upon his men as
the lantern shone full upon the object, exclaiming,
" The ghost of Hurtel, by all that's good ! Evan,
come back here, you villain ! Carl, give me that
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 191
lantern, coward !" he shouted to his men, who
turned and fled with affright.
He caught the light from the hand of the terri
fied Dane, and turned upon this apparition, which>
notwithstanding his coolness, had not a little dis
concerted him. He held the lamp, though standing
off at a chosen distance, to the, face of the supposed
ghost, and said, with an odd mixture of natural
boldness and superstitious fear,
" 'Fore Heaven, comrade, you have grown full
young in the other world ! But there is no mista
king the cut of your eye. Faith, but you can smile,
I see," he added, more freely. " There's no more
mistaking your smile than your black, ugly frown !
So, suppose we shake hands, and, after we get the
chest aboard for they say you don't want this sort
of ballast in the seas down below why, we'll
empty a can together, and spin a yarn about old
times before the cock crows !"
As the intrepid old sea-rover spoke, he extended
his rough hand to grasp that of the other. The
young man hesitated to take it, for he was scarce
sure of his reception when it should be discovered
that he was flesh and blood.
" Never mind if your ringers be a little cold or
so, 'tis the nature o' ghosts. I can give you a grasp
that'll put warmth into 'em, and last you till you
get back where you hail from. Come, old friend,
give us your digits, just to say you ain't offended
at the liberty I am about to take with your chest o'
sparklers ; and afterward I will just thank you to
step one side a bit !"
The young man smiled at the intrepidity of the
seaman, and took the proffered hand.
" Warm ! by the bones of St. Nick ! The old
fellow below has been keeping you over a hot fire,
messmate. Well, you must confess, you lived a
192 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
wonderfully wicked life ; and so, as the priests say,
the devil will fry it out of you. Sorry for you, on
my word ! Will lay by fifty of these guilders in
prayers for your soul ! So take heart. Now just
step aside off that slab, which you stick to as if
'twas a tombstone, and we'll bear a hand and bouse
this old box out in the snapping of a bolt-rope."
" I am no spirit, but a habitant of this world, like
thyself!" he said, with firmness, and a straightfor
ward frankness that he wisely calculated would
have its effect ; "I am a young adventurer, without
name or family, weal or wealth. I would take ser
vice with thee, and follow thy fortunes on the sea !"
The bucanier listened with surprise ; and as he
became convinced, from his words and manner,
that he was no shade from the land of spirits,
which shadowy beings he seemed to fear no more
than mortal substance, his countenance instantly
changed, and he surveyed him with a puzzled look
of surprise and doubt.
" So ! this alters the case ! Who art thou, then ?
what art thou doing here and on this particular
stone ? 'Tis mysterious, i'faith ! Guarding this
treasure, which no man save Hurtel and I saw laid
here ; so like him, and not be he ! Yet thou canst
not be Red Hurtel in the flesh, for his hair would
be as gray as mine by this time. Thou sayest
thou art not his spirit. Who, and what, then, in
the name of St. Barnabas, may you be ?"
" His son."
" Ha ! ho ! There it is, as plain as my hand !"
he said, slapping the flat of his cutlass into his left
palm. " Priest never had aught to do with thy
begetting or thy christening, I'll be sworn ! I now
remember he had a leman-lady in the tower when
I knew him. A proper youth," he added, looking
at him with interest, " and as like your father as
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 193
one marlin-spike is like another ! So you inherit
the old tower, I dare say, and follow in his steps.
St. Claus and the apostles ! I would not be sur
prised if you laid claim to the gold here !"
" I care neither for tower nor gold, good captain.
To follow your fortunes I alone ask."
" Do you know what fortunes I follow ?" inquired
the other, significantly.
" I care not, so there is work for the free hand
and ready spirit."
"A chip of the old block ! There's my hand to
it. You shall have your will, my brave one !
Your father and I were comrades in that cursed
affair that made the country too hot to hold us. I
have been a rover since, and, trusting to my gray
head, have ventured back to carry off what gold I
heard he had not time to remove. Thou shall go
with me for thy father's sake, boy."
He grasped the old man's offered hand, and, for
the moment, felt that he was less alone in the world.
What a change had one brief day made in the feel
ings and destinies of this haughty young man !
" Bear a hand, you pale runaways !" cried the
captain to the men, who, seeing that their spirit
had proved of flesh and blood, returned, scowling
darkly on the cause of their discomfiture. " Take
hold of the edge of that stone, and lift it from its
bed. Place your hands on the right spot, and it
will come up like a cork."
The men made several ineffectual efforts to lift
it, though even assisted in their last attempt by
" How is this ?" he said ; " it should move with
a finger's touch. Ha, I have it ! I had forgot.
You might heave till you were gray, boys, and it
wouldn't stir a hair. Look at some of my magic."
VOL. L R
194 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
He stooped as he spoke, and pressing the stone
horizontally towards the wall, it moved from its
bed, and slid away slowly, as if on wheels, be
neath it exposing a cavity two feet square and
about three feet deep, containing an oaken box,
bound with strong bands of rusted steel.
" Here it lies, like a biscuit in a bucket ! Let us
see if the gold has got rusty."
He searched a few moments, and at length bore
hard upon a corner of the box, but without produ
cing any effect.
" The spring is as tight as if Old Nick had his
foot on it. Let us try what this good steel, that
has served me so often at a push, will do now."
He pressed the point of his cutlass with steady
force against one corner, when suddenly the lid flew
up, and a glittering pile of silver and gold, and a
remarkably shaped dagger, a foot in length, wider
at the point than the handle, and exceedingly rich
with precious stones, met their eyes.
There was a general exclamation of surprise at
this display of treasure. The young man took up
the weapon and examined it with curiosity.
" That belonged to Hurtel of the Red-Hand, and
he prized it, too !" said the old pirate. " It shall be
thine, young man ! Holding it with that grasp as
you do, and your kindling eye, I would swear my
old comrade stood before me. If nature put the
father's looks on all children as she has on thee, it
would be a blind father that wouldn't know his own
child. But it's only bas hoit ! I mean to say
that children honestly come by seldom show the
breed they hail from as some other sort o' craft
do I'faith, I haven't bettered it much ! But, no
harm meant, my brave fellow ! Keep that yataghan
for your father's sake. He knew its use, and, if
you are long under me "
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 195
" Under you ?" repeated the youth, his natural
spirit breaking out.
" Ha ! I like that ! Better men than I will soon
be under you, I see 'tis in you born and bred !
So ! let us heave out this precious metal. Six thou
sand told pounds, if my memory serves me. Heave
heartily, boys. There she moves ! Now she rises
on her toes ! Steady strain. Hearty, hearty.
There you are !"
" Hafey golt 'tish dat dere, Evan," said one,
straightening his bent loins.
" Ap carnach ! ant yer may will say tat, poy !"
responded Evan, breathing himself and passing
the back of his hand across his brow, from which
started big drops of perspiration.
They now laid hold of it and dragged it beneath
the trapdoor : with the united efforts of the men,
the captain, and even Lester or Hurtel, as for
the present he should be called they got it to the
floor above, reascended, and closed the scuttle.
" You will want fresh hands, captain," said the
youthful novitiate, at once readily entering into the
spirit of his new vocation, and thirsting for excite
ment as a foil to reflection ; " shall I call two of your
men from the boat ?"
" Ay, ay ! do so !" said the captain ; adding, as
he darted away, " True as steel, by St. Glaus ! I
would rather lose the gold than lose him. He is
worth his weight of it !"
While he was speaking his protege reached the
balcony, and, bending over, ordered, in an authori
tative tone, two of the men to ascend to relieve
their mates. There was a general exclamation of
surprise from the party below at the sound of the
" Treason !"
" We are betrayed !"
196 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" To the rescue of our captain !" were the va
rious exclamations, in as many different languages,
followed by glancing of steel and clicking of pis
tols, several of which were levelled at the win
" Ho, fellows ! will you not obey?" said he, stern
ly ; " up, up- with you ! By the cross ! if I were
your captain, knaves, I would teach you to linger
after an order was given."
" Who in the devil have we there ?" said one, in
a gruff voice. " Shall I pink him, mates ?"
" Who talks of pinking ? What, ho, ye villains !"
shouted the captain, who now appeared at the win
dow. " This youth is my lieutenant, and see that
you obey him, or I will make a pair of earrings of
a brace of you for the main-yard-arms."
" That's another thing," said several voices. " Or
ders is orders, if they come from the devil, so as
he is got the commission in his pocket !"
" Two of the strongest of you lubberly oxen,
clamber up here. Spring ! be nimble ! nimble !
Back the boat directly under, and keep her steady."
A moment afterward two of the men reached
the top of the rock and sprung into the balcony. It
took but a short time to get the chest upon the
balustrade, lash it with the rope they had brought,
rig a fall with a brace of oars, and swing it off.
" Stand ready below there !" cried the captain.
" All ready."
" Handle it as if it was a baby. Gently, gently,
or you will knock the boat's bottom out ! Swing
it more aft ! There, now, let her drop amidships !
Easy not too fast ! There she lies between the
thwarts like a pig in a pillory !"
The box was safely lowered into the launch, and
followed with alacrity by the men : the captain and
his new lieutenant were also preparing to go down,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 197
when each, at the same instant, felt himself touch
ed from behind, and, turning round, Elpsy confront
" Who art thou, in the name of Beelzebub's
mother ?" demanded the captain, staring with aston
ishment, not unrningled with superstitious dread, on
the deformed and hideous being who had so sud
denly and mysteriously appeared to him.
" I would speak with thee, Edmund Turill !"
" Then thou art Sathanas !" he cried, with aston
ishment ; " how knowest thou me ?"
"It matters not. I know thee," she replied, in a
tone of mystery. " That youth goes with thee ?"
she added, inquiringly.
" He does !"
" See, then, that he is well treated, and receives
not ill at thy hands. Remember, once thou hadst
a son !"
" Who art thou, i'the name of all the saints, wo
" It matters not. When thou thinkest of thy
poor boy's bones, gibbeted for sharing thy guilt o'er
the gate of Cork, the winds whistling through them
with a sad wail, look kindly on this youth, and take
him to thy heart, as if he were thine own flesh and
" I will do it," he said, with emotion.
" Swear it."
" I swear it !"
" 'Tis well. One question I have to ask thee,
and truly answer it."
" Name it, woman !"
" Where wanders Hurtel of the Red-Hand ?"
"'Tis said he died in the Indies !"
" 'Tis false !" she cried, with energy. " He can
never die unaccursed by her he has wronged. No,
no ! he will have one to watch his pillow in his dy-
198 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
ing throes he would rather burn in hell, to which
he is doomed, than see. No, no ! his time has not
yet come ! his master will not let him slip out o'
life so easily. Oh, it will be a glory to see him
die ; and mock his groans ; and laugh, laugh at his
terrors ! Ha, ha, ha ! Oh, will it not be a jubilee
to see him struggle with the death !"
" I'God's name, woman, tell me who thou art ?"
" Dost not behold what I am ? Wouldst have
fair winds, I will raise thee foul : wouldst have a
smooth sea, I will make it boil and hiss : wilt say
a prayer, I will turn it into a curse ere it can leave
" Avaunt, sorceress !" he cried, crossing himself
" Ha, ha ! so you can feel my power ! Oh, well !
it is a-pleasant to make men's stout hearts quake.
Dost know me ?" she asked, impressively, ap
proaching her face close to his.
" No !" he said, retreating and preparing to de
scend the rock. " Avoid thee, Sathanas !"
" Listen !" she said, approaching and laying her
hand on his arm, and whispering low in his ear.
" Thou /" he exclaimed, instantly starting back,
and surveying her with mingled surprise, curiosity,
" Wouldst care to leave thy revels and their
lord, and, stealing to her lone room, offer thy drunk
en love to her now ! Ha, ha, ha ! Does she not
look a comely leman for thy licentious love ?" she
added, with malicious irony.
He gazed on her a few seconds by the light of
the moon, and seemed too much overpowered by
surprise to speak. At length he said, in a tone of
" Hideous as thou art, it must be as thou sayesl,
for only thus could I be known to thee ! But,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 199
holy St. Claus !" he added, in a tone, " this lad
" No matter who he is ! see thou harm him
. "I will be a father to him, woman! Tore Heav
en," he exclaimed afresh, gazing upon her with
mingled curiosity and pity, " was there ever such
" Mind me not ! spare your sympathy ! Go !
Stay !" she cried, earnestly recalling him ; " if you
ever meet him, breathe not into his ears what and
whom you have this night seen. I have made my
self known to thee for this youth's sake. Fare
well, young man," she said, approaching Lester as
he stood on the rock, to which he had bounded
from the balcony at the beginning of their confer
ence. She extended her hand as she spoke. He
took it, and grasped it warmly, saying, in a sooth
" Good-by, Elpsy. I have no ill-will against
thee in my heart. Thou hast done but thy duty !"
The sorceress seemed to be moved, turned away
from him without speaking, as if her feelings choked
utterance, and stalked away through the hall, and
left the tower.
" Come, my lad," said the captain, turning away
and speaking with feeling, after following with his
eyes her retreating form till it disappeared in the
forest, " she is a poor, unhappy creature, and it'll
come hard, I'm thinking, on him that made her so.
But this is no time for sentiment. Let us aboard
and make an offing ere the dawn ; for, if we are
spied lying here, we shall have the king's bulldog
down upon us from windward I saw lying in Cor
Bay, who will bark to some purpose if he should
catch us here on a lee shore."
Thus speaking, the old seaman lightly descended
200 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
the rock to the boat, followed by his youthful lieu
tenant, and in a few minutes they reached the ves
The moment his foot touched the deck the cap
tain gave orders to make sail : the long, crooked
tiller was put hard up to windward ; the heavy
mainsail swung back to its place ; the vessel's head
turned slowly off, and, feeling the wind on her
quarter, she stood in landward for a few seconds
to gain headway, and then came gracefully round
with her starboard bow to the wind. With each
broad sail drawn nearly fore and aft, she lay as
near it as her short blunt build would permit, and
stretched away from the shore on a long tack to
wards the south.
' If solitude succeed to grief,
Release from pain is light relief;
The vacant bosom's wilderness
Might thank the pang that made it less.
The heart once left thus desolate
Must fly at last for ease to hate."
THE narrative once more returns to Mark, who,
it will be remembered, had arrived, on his way to
Castle More, at a ruin in the midst of the forest
he was traversing, when the approach of two horse
men caused him to withdraw from the path. As
he did so, they were encountered and stopped by
some one who unexpectedly met them as they were
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 201
galloping past the lonely pile. Curious to know
who they were and what could be their business
at that late hour, he entered the deep shadow of the
tower, and approached so near them as to discover
that the men wore the livery of Lady Lester, and
that the person with Whom they were talking was
none other than the witch Elpsy, with whose per
son he had been familiar from childhood.
After Elpsy disappeared from the eyes of the old
bucanier and his young lieutenant at Hurtel's tow
er, she had continued to move rapidly through the
forest towards Castle Cor, without turning either
to the right or left. Sometimes she would skip for
ward with mad hilarity till exhausted ; at others,
leap, and clap her hands, and shout, till the dales of
the old wood rung again with her shrieking laughter.
From the unnatural speed, and the wild, straight
forward direction in which she moved, her sole ob
ject seemed to be to reach some point for which
she aimed in the least possible time. The scared
owl hooted aloud at her approach, and flew, with a
heavy flap of his thick wings, deeper into the wood ;
the hawk left his nest with a shrill cry ; the deer
fled from her path ! On, on she bounded and leap
ed mocking their notes of terror, like a demon pur
sued. At limes, when she crossed an open glade,
where the moon poured down her \inobstrucied
radiance, she would suddenly stop and mutter, but
without appearing to notice the pale orb the sight
of which, by directing her thoughts into another,
but not less turbulent channel, seemed to have ex
ercised a momentary influence on her. She had
travelled six miles in less than one hour's time,
when she suddenly stopped in the full light of the
moon, looked up, and shook her open hands to
wards it with a laugh of derision.
" Oh, ho ! you need not look and watch, and
202 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
watch and look, and keep your pale face and shining
eyes always fixed on me ! Dost think I would com
mit murder? and the little twinkling stars peer
down as if they could espy a knife in my hand !
Look, ye little glittering winklings," she cried,
spreading upward her open palms, "dost see a
knife ? Ha, ha, ha ! ye are out there. I am too
much for ye. No, I know ye well, with your wink
ing and your blinking at each other, and how, in
the darkest night, one of you always keeps watch,
to spy the murders done in the absence o' the sun ;
and then you whisper it through heaven, and tell it
to the earth, and then we hang for it. Oh, ho ! I
have a charm will put you to sleep. Ha ! you
laugh, and grin, and gibber, that I have lost in a
half hour's tale what I have won by years of si
lence. Well, well, there'll be a time ! there'll be a
Dropping her head, she appeared a moment as
if in sullen thought, and then muttered, in a tone
and manner which, more than words, gave a key
to the wild phrensy that had hitherto possessed
" If he cannot be Lord of Lester, neither shall
HE ! He dies ! The eye of the moon pierces not
this wood ! He dies ! 'Tis long yet to dawn,"
she abruptly added, moving forward, and speaking
with more coherency. " If I can find him ere the
myrmidons of Lady Lester can reach him, should
she send for him, Castle More will ne'er own other
lord than he who, but for my foul tongue may it
wither in my throat! would now have been Lord of
Lester. He dies ! dies ! dies ! dies !" and, hasting
her footsteps, she continued to repeat the word at
every stride, accompanying it with a threatening
gesture of her arm.
Her rapid speed soon brought her to the ruins of
THE WIZARD OP THE SEA. 203
the abbey. Bounding like an ape over the fallen
blocks, she entered the door in the tower, and with
an unfaltering step traversed the gallery to her sub
terraneous abode, which, after Lester's angry and
fruitless pursuit of her, she had left for Muriel's
tower, fearing that he might despatch a party from
Castle More in search of her, for the purpose, by
her death, of effectually silencing all question of his
Entering her subterranean abode, she produced
a light without flint, or steel, or fire, but by smartly
drawing two marks, in opposition to the sign of the
cross, on the wall with a small stick, the end of
which immediately emitted a blue flame, and, after
a fierce, hissing noise, shot up into a bright blaze.
This, to the peasantry who had witnessed it, was
one of the strongest evidences of her being in
league with the devil, who, it was asseverated,
kindled her stick for her in the unquenchable fire.
She lighted a fragment of a rush candle by the
flame, and, opening a small box containing me
dicinal preparations, took therefrom a small vial
containing an amber-coloured liquid, and held it to
the light. She looked at it for a while with a look
of vengeful satisfaction, and then placed it in her
bosom ; afterward she took a rusty poniard from
a crevice in the wall, carefully felt its point, which
was ground to a keen edge, and, with a look of sat
isfaction, thrust it up into her sleeve. Then extin
guishing the light, she hastened past the tomb of
Black Morris, and with a quick, determined step,
traversed the gallery towards its outlet.
As she approached it she heard the tramp of
horses. With a quick, apprehensive cry, as if she
at once divined the cause, she flew through the
passage into the moonlight, and saw two horsemen
approaching at a round pace, and going in the di-
204 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
rection of Caslle Cor : as they came nearer, she
recognised them as the chief forester and the sen
eschal from Castle More. She permitted them to
gallop along the road till they were within a few
feet of her, when she suddenly stepped forth from
the black shadow of the tower, and, with one arm
outstretched brandishing the stiletto, confronted
them. The riders, taken by surprise, pulled their
horses back to their haunches, and both instantly
exclaimed, with superstitious dread,
" Elpsy !"
These were the horsemen Mark turned from his
path to avoid.
" I am Elpsy," she repeated, in a lofty tone,
" Whither ride ye, so fast and free ?
" If ye do not tell me true,
Horses each shall cast a shoe,
And evil bide ye, ill betide,
As ye on your journey ride !"
" There be strange doings at the castle, mother,"
said the seneschal, pitching his voice to the true
gossiping tone ; " there's me young loord "
" Fait ! but it's jist this " interrupted the other ;
" our young masther, Lord Robert, is not masther's
son at all at all, and masther's son "
" Murther ! an' it's you dat have it wrong, Ennis,
honey," cried the other, interrupting him in his turn ;
" it's jist this, ould Mither Eelpsy ; Lord Robert is
not my Lord Robert at all at all, and the raal Lord
Robert is "
" And is it not the very woords I was afther tilling
the crathur ?" interrupted the forester. " I will
give it to ye, Eelpsy, dare, in the right way."
" Hist with your tongues !" cried the impatient
woman, having heard enough to convince her that
Robert had told the truth in saying that he openly
published his own shame. " Hold with your sense-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 205
less words, fools ! I can tell ye more than both of
ye together, and all Castle Cor, know."
" We know dat, ould mither ! Don't forget to
crass yourself, Jarvey, honey," added the speaker,
aside, making the sign of the cross on his breast.
" It's the great dale ye know, and the likes o' ye,
and it's not we that is to gainsay it this night."
"Whither ride ye?" she demanded, impatiently
taking hold of the bridle of one of the horses.
" Och, an' isn't it to bring with all speed that
young jintleman o' the world, Mark Meredith, the
ould fisherman's son, to be sure, to Castle More,"
said the forester.
" At whose bidding ?" she demanded.
" Our lady's, the jewil !" answered the senes
" Go back, and tell the Dark Lady of the Rock
that thus says Elpsy, the sorceress : ' He whom
she seeks she will never find !'"
" But it's the disthress she'll be in," said the sen
" And it's the deep grief o' the world that's upon
her now," added the other.
" Och, but it will be bad news to be afther bring
ing back to her that sint us," pursued Ennis, with
" Widout iver having gone at all at all," said
Jarvey, in a tone of grief.
" A cush-la-ma-chree, Jarvey, but it's find the
lad we must !" cried Ennis, with sudden resolution.
" And it's the ould mither that's here, bliss her,
'11 maybe till us where he may be jist at this pres
ent," added Jarvey, insinuatingly.
" Do you hesitate to obey me ! Go back, even
as you came. If she ask you where the lad is, tell
her Elpsy has said, ' Lester has no lord .'"'
" Och, hone ! and will it be the world's thruth,
VOL. I. S
206 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
Elpsy, hinney ! It'll break the spirit of her, in her
"And whal'll the castle do widout a lord!
That I should live to see it !" wailed the senes
" And must we go back to the Dark Lady wid
dis heavy sorrow to the fore ?" asked the forester.
" E'en must ye ! So !" she cried, turning, with a
sudden jerk of the rein, the head of one of the
horses towards the direction in which they had
come. " Ride, ride," she added, in a commanding
but wild tone, "nor look behind till ye are safe
within the gates, lest ye care to see the evil one
astraddle of your crupper."
" The houly crass protict us !" they both ejac
ulated, crossing themselves.
" Good e'en to ye, mither. It's yourself is the
crathur for knowing the world's thruth," added Jar-
vey, as if by flattery he would disarm any evil in
tention she might cherish in reference to himself.
"And it's to her we're indibted for not riding
tree leagues for nothing at all at all, whin the lad's
not to the fore ! Faix, it's my thanks ye have, ould
Elpsy, for't, an' its yer due, were ye the ould divil
himself," returned Ennis, gathering up his rein.
" Kape your head straight between yer shoulder,
" It's me, honey, will niver be afther looking be-
hint," replied Jarvey, setting his face towards Cas
Thus taking leave of the wily woman, these two
old simple-minded retainers rode back again ; their
obtuse minds probably scarce comprehending the
nature of the loss Lady Lester had met with, the
exchanged fortunes of their late young master, nor
the important object of their mission.
She looked after them as they galloped away
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 207
till they were lost in the gloom of the forest,
when, clapping her hands, she broke into a peal of
frantic merriment, which was more like the shriek
of a fiend than like human laughter.
" Ah, ha ! have I not done it well ! I met them
here just in time. Satan stands my friend yet ! If
he did make me lose the game, he has helped to
keep another from winning it. No, Lester shall
never have a lord at the expense of him who, but
for my accursed tongue and his silly honour!
would still have been its master. Ho, ho ! have I
not done it ! Now it remains for me, ere he can
learn the secret of his birth, to send him where low
and highborn are all on a level ! This ! and, if this
fail, this" she said, grasping first the vial and then
the dagger, " shall do my will ! It's a wicked act
I know it ! 'tis a deed of hell ! I would not harm
the poor lad no ; for he is like an own child to
me but, then, he is not my child and shall I see
him in the seat from which he has been cast out ?
No, no, this steel shall drink this poison shall dry
up, his noble blood first !"
" Of whom do you speak in such fearful words,
She started with mingled terror and astonish
ment, and beheld standing at her side the uncon
scious object of her thoughts. Her surprise at his
sudden, and, as she at first believed, supernatural
appearance, for the moment deprived her of her
speech ; she dropped the hand that held the vial,
which was dashed in pieces against a stone, and
gazed on him for several seconds with a disturbed
and remorseful countenance.
" Did you hear all my words ?" she at length had
the resolution to ask, advancing a step towards
him, and speaking in a deep, husky tone.
" No, mother. I have been in the shadow of
208 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
yonder bastion, waiting the departure of those
" Then you could not hear their speech ?" she
interrogated, with an eagerness of voice and man
ner that he could not account for.
" No," he answered, firmly.
" You have not spoken with them ?"
" They have not told you that is, you are Mark
Meredith, the grandson of old Meredith, the fish
erman ? Speak, boy !"
" Surely I am, Elpsy ; do you not discern my
face by this moon ? I fear," he said, in a kind
tone, " you have not taken good care of yourself of
late, and are a little fevered. Go down to our hut,
if you can walk so far, and you will find a meal of
fish there, of my own taking, which I left my
grandsire preparing for me. Bid him give you my
portion. Good-night, Elpsy, I have business at
As he spoke he stepped aside to pass her and
pursue his way. His hospitable and kind invita
tion had touched her. She was not so seared that
gentleness and words of kindness could not find a
vibrating chord within her bosom. Gradually, as
he spoke she relaxed her hand from its grasp on the
poniard, which, on discovering him, she had instinct
ively concealed in the folds of her scarlet cloak, and
extended it towards him in a grateful manner. But
the expression of his intention to proceed to the
abode of Lady Lester caused her suddenly to draw
it back, while in a quick, harsh tone of voice, and
with great vehemence of manner, in which alarm
and apprehension were visible, she cried,
" Castle More ! What hast thou to do at Castle
" I bear a message to Robert of Lester ! Detain
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 209
me not, Elpsy ; I have already lingered on the
Who sends thee ?"
' The young lady of Bellamont."
' Thy message ?"
: I know not. 'Tis in this sealed pacquet."
Is this all for which thou art sent ?"
No instructions no commands ?"
' None, save to make no delay at Castle More,
lest my young lord and I should renew a quarrel
we had this day."
" Nothing else ?"
"Nothing. But why these rapid questions
this anxiety of manner? What has come over
thee, Elpsy ?" he asked, with surprise.
She had put this series of interrogations to him
with an irresistible energy and rapidity, that left
him no alternative but direct and instant replies.
At first she gave him no answer ; her face work
ed convulsively, and she seemed to be contending
with some strong feelings, that she in vain strove
to get the mastery over. At length she muttered
within her lips,
" I had feared ! But 'tis safe, safe. 'Tis a pity
to slay the fair young lad ; but, if I do not, he will
know that which he never must know become
that he never shall become ! He must not see
Castle More. He must die rather ! Mark, come
to me," she said, in a hollow and unearthly tone ;
" I would whisper in your ear what I would not
have the laughing and grinning devils that flit about
us in the air, hear ! Come to me and listen !"
While she was speaking she nervously grasped
the handle of her dagger, and took a step towards
him. Her manner hitherto had already aroused
his watchfulness, and the tone of her invitation by
S 2 - ^
210 CAPTAIN KYD ; OR,
no means increased his confidence. He did not,
indeed, suspect any attempt upon his life by her;
but, being familiar with her restless and violent na
ture, he was prepared to expect some annoying
violence ; and for this he was cautiously on the
" Wilt not approach ?" she said, in a coaxing
tone. " 'Tis a sweet and fair tale I would tell
thee ! Ha, ha ! as fair and sweet as I told the
Lord Robert yestere'en ! Wilt not come ?" she
shouted, as she saw he continued to step back as
she advanced ; " then will I come !"
She, with these words, made a spring towards
him, seized him suddenly by the breast, and bran
dished her poniard in the air. He was not unpre
pared for this, sudden as it was : he caught her up
raised arm, and bent it backward over her head
till she shrieked with pain, and, with a cool and
determined exertion of his whole strength, cast her
from him so violently as to hurl her to the earth.
She sprang to her feet like a cat, and, with a yell
of rage, again leaped upon him. He avoided her
attack by lightly springing to one side, when, miss
ing her blow, she fell forward and struck her head
on the edge of a stone, and sunk to the ground
senseless and bleeding.
He instantly flew to her relief, lifted her from
the earth, and attempted to assuage the flow of
blood from a severe contusion that she had received
on the forehead. In a little time the loss of blood
restored her to consciousness ; it also had the effect
of subduing her high fever of excitement, and
making her comparatively calm. She permitted
him to bind a handkerchief, that he took from his
own neck, across her temples ; but she neither
spoke nor acknowledged his attentions, but sat in
sullen silence on the ground.
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 211
" Elpsy," asked the youth, at length, " why do
you seek my life ?"
" You can never know !" she replied, slowly
shaking her head with morose inflexibility.
" Have I wronged you ?"
"Ask me not!"
" Is it thirst for blood, evil woman, that drives
thee to this crime ?"
" I would not slay thee, but thou and I, boy, can
never live in the same land !" she said, obstinately.
" Thou mightst have spared this attempt, then,
on my life, for soon the deep sea will roll between
me and my native isle."
"How ! Explain your words !" she asked, with
" I am resolved, as nature has denied me nobil
ity of birth, to give it at least to those who come
" Speak on !" she cried, hanging on his words
with intense expectation.
" I am going from my father's roof into the
world, to see if I cannot make men forget from what
I have sprung !"
" Is this thy purpose, boy ? Speak truly !"
" It is, Elpsy. Seven hours ago I had nearly
linked my fortunes with the yacht that takes the
earl to England on the morrow but "
" But, what ?" she eagerly demanded.
" My father I thought of him, and "
" Would not."
" I cannot desert him to suffering and want."
" And is this all ?" she asked, her face lighting
up with a newly awakened thought.
" The sole cause."
She began eagerly to search her belt, and drew
forth from it a heavy purse. Shaking it with a grat
ified air, she then poured its glittering contents on
the ground beside her
212 CAPTAIN KYD J OR,
" See that pile of gold ! To-morrow go in this
king's ship, and it shall be yours there are three
hundred guilders told 'twill give the old man food
and raiment for a longer life than his will be, and
afterward buy a coffin for his bones. Wilt go ?"
" Mother," said he, his heart leaping with joy
and hope, yet both tempered with the doubt to
which he gave utterance, " this wealth ! is it thine ?
How came you by it ?"
" It matters not."
" I dare not touch it. I fear 'tis the price of sin
or, perhaps, of blood."
" Fool ; 'tis wealth I've had in store these eigh
teen years, given to me by times by one who, if
'there be justice in Heaven or hell, is now accursed
on earth. There is no more evil in it than in every
piece of gold that the earth contains all gold is
evil it is all but the price of honour, of honesty,
or of human blood. Take it, and depart from this
He gazed on the glittering heap, and hope, by its
aid, pictured bright visions of the future, and the
fruition of all his aspiring wishes. Ambition once
more awakened in his heart. Yet he hesitated.
But, while he did so, he thought of Kate Bella-
mont of the proud Lester of his hopes of the fu
ture of all that he had loved to contemplate ; he
even gave a thought to Grace Fitzgerald : all that
an aspiring mind like his, at such a time, could
be influenced by, had its effect upon him. She
narrowly watched his countenance, read rightly his
thoughts, and, feeling assured of his acceptance of
it, mentally congratulated herself that her object
could be effected without the shedding of his blood.
She waited till she thought his mind was sufficient
ly ripe for her purpose, then replaced the gold in
the purse, and, balancing it in her hand, said,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 213
" Before you take this purse, I name one condi
tion of its acceptance."
He looked to her to mention it.
" That you for ever drop your present name and
assume another ; that you never breathe to mortal
ear the place of your birth, nor give clew to your
" I gladly promise this for already I had re
solved on it, Elpsy. I have one great motive for
doing so. But what can be yours ?"
" 'Tis no matter. You promise this ?"
"Then take the gold for thy grandsire's sup
" Thanks, thanks, kind Elpsy yet "
" Not a word of objection. I have two favours
to ask of thee."
" Name them," said he, with an eagerness that
evinced a desire to serve her.
l< Promise that you will hold no speech with any
one before thy departure."
" I do," he said, after an instant's hesitation.
" Swear that thou wilt never set foot on this isle
" Nay, I will not swear it," he said, with deter
" Wilt thou obey me ? Swear it !" she cried, in
a tone of fierce command.
" Who art thou that I should yield thee obedi
ence, woman ? I yield obedience to none save my
" Wilt thou swear ?" she asked, with more com
The resolute attitude he so unexpectedly as
sumed disconcerted her for an instant. At length
214 CAPTA.IN KYD ; OR,
" Wilt thou promise never to return here under
thy own, that is thy present name ?"
"Yes, most freely. Now farewell, Elpsy; I
must hasten to Castle More."
" You go not to Castle More !" she exclaimed,
with singular emphasis.
" I am intrusted with a message, and must de
" Give it to me, I will be its bearer."
" Nay, I must myself place it in Lord Robert's
hands, in person."
" Give it me, boy ! I will bear it safely to its
" No, Elpsy."
" Go to Castle More, and you sail not on the mor
row," she said, in a determined tone, replacing the
gold in her belt.
He hesitated. After a brief struggle between
his duty to Grace Fitzgerald and her cousin, and
his own wishes, he at length said, falteringly,
" May I trust you to deliver it, Elpsy ?"
He turned the billet, with its lock of hair, over
and over, gazed on it long and fondly on every
side, and, from his reluctance to resign the pre
cious treasure, there appeared to have arisen a
new bar to Elpsy's purpose. At length he made
a compromise with his feelings by slipping off the
braid of hair, and hastily concealing it in his bo
som, while he gave her the unsecured packet.
" Place it only in the hands of Robert of Lester,
" None else shall see it."
" Speedily, if you are not too ill."
" It will take many a harder buffet than that
thou gavest me to make me ill. He shall have it
ere thou art half a league on thy return."
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 215
" Then, Elpsy, I go. Fare thee well, and may
Heaven have you in better keeping than your life
now gives hope of. Will you call at times when
I am away to see my grandfather ? He will be
"Many will be the gossip we'll yet have to
gether. Now go ! Take my blessing 'twill do
thee no harm, if it can do no good ! When does
the ship sail ?"
" The Earl of Bellamont will return from Kin-
sale in the morning, and 'tis said that before noon
she will be under weigh."
" The sooner the better. Go at once on board,
nor let the rising sun find thee on the land. Fare
" Farewell, Elpsy. Don't forget the poor old
" He shall never want while Elpsy lives. Now
fare thee well, and remember /" she added, im
They now separated ; the young man rapidly re
tracing his way to his hut, with a buoyant tread and
lightness of spirit, his imagination filled with daz
zling visions of the future ; Elpsy bending her
steps steadily in the direction of Castle More, her
soul exulting in the master-stroke of policy she had
effected. When he was no longer visible, she
stopped, and, opening the packet, by the light of the
moon curiously examined the locket and its de
vice, the application of which, without understand
ing its motto, she intuitively comprehended, and
then read the contents of the billet with a loud,
" And would she meet him now with love ? Ha,
ha ! The haughty maiden would toss her head, did
he bear this to her, she knowing his birth. Oh !"
she added, with a malignant chuckle, " that I had
216 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
let him married her ere this secret had let out
would it not have been a brave thing then to have
brought down the pride of these gentles ! If I
could have kept the secret till their honeymoon
was over ! Fiends !" she exclaimed, with mad
dened disappointment, " what precious revenge I
have lost ! Shall I not have a taste of what is left
me ? Shall I not yet tell her who and what he is ?
Oh, will it not be joy to my soul to witness her
ravings ! I'll do't ! I'll do't ! There's something
left yet to live for ! There's mischief yet to do in
the earth. But I must first watch this sprout of
Lester this fisher's boy ! I shall not have to
touch his life if he'll get off before he learns his
true rank ; but I'll follow him like his shadow,
nor will I take eyes off him till the ship he sails
in goes out of my sight beyond the ocean's edge.
Then will I to Castle Cor, and see if Lady Kate
will receive me, the bearer of this locket, ' with
love !' Haven't I a tale for her delicate ear ! Oh,
there is yet something to live for ! Elpsy'll not
die while there's devil's work to do ! So ! methinks
I feel a little giddy for walking," she continued,
tottering against the trunk of a tree ; " but I'll soon
fall into my old gait. A little bloodletting of a
moonshiny night is ever good for the health."
Thus muttering to herself, she turned back to
wards the ruin, and began to walk in the direction
taken by Mark, at first slowly ; but, gradually gath
ering strength with motion and excitement, she soon
strode through the long, dark glades of the forest
at a rate that soon brought her in sight of him.
Keeping so far in the rear as not to be discovered
by him should he chance to turn his head, she fol
lowed him out of the wood, then down to the sea
side and along the beach, till she saw him, just as
the day broke, lift the latch of the door of his hum-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 2lt
ble cot and disappear within. She then sought a.
recess in the cliff in the rear of the hut, where, se^-
creting herself in a clump of low bushes that grevv
about it, she remained concealed until some time afr
ter sunrise, when she saw him reappear accompa
nied by the fisherman', and beheld both go togeth
er to the beach, launch their little fisher's bark, hoist
the sail, and leave the shore. She eagerly watched
them as they stood off from the land, and with un*
speakable triumph saw them run alongside of the
yacht. With emotions of malignant joy, she be*-
held Mark take leave of his grandsire and get on
board, and the solitary old man quit the vessel alone
and steer in shore towards his desolate hut. As
his skiff grated upon the beach, she met hirrh
" So ho, father Meredith ! thou hast been sell
ing thy fish to a good market. The English hav
the silver coin, wjiich thou wilt scarce find at th
Cove ayond. What price gave these warsmen fof
thy herring the morn, gossip ?" she inquired, as*
sisting him with her arm from the boat as she
" It was no sale o' the herring at all, womah Elp 1
sy," said the old man, shaking his head mournfully^
and placing the stone kedge of his boat in a crev
ice in the rocks so as to secure it against being borne
off by the ebbing tide ; " it's no a sale o' the fishj
woman dear, but o' my own flesh and blood. Och
hone ! och hone ! and it's the ould gray-headed
man'll never see his face more !"
He turned towards the yacht as he spoke> and
stretching forth his hands towards it, wailed aloud :
at length his lament ceased, or, rathe^ changed to
a flood of tender epithets, eloquent with the depth
of Irish sorrow, which he applied to the youth,
while his dim, eyes were vainly strained towards
VOL. I. T
218 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
the vessel, to distinguish once more his beloved
"What means this sorrow, father Meredith?
Who hast thou sofd ?"
" The lad my grandson ! a-cush la-ma chree !
I have sold him for gold. There, woman, take
thine again ! I will none of it !" he cried, with sud
den vehemence, drawing the purse she had given
Mark from his jacket, and throwing it at her feet.
" 'Tis the price of blood, and I will not have it, evil
" Hear me, father Meredith," she said, deliber
ately placing her hands upon his shoulders, and
looking him earnestly in the face. " I know the
purpose of thy visit to yonder king's ship. I know
whom thou hast left there. Thou hast done well
and wisely in permitting him to depart. He has
left gold for thy wants, and has told thee how he
came by it. 'Twas my gift to him and thee."
" 'Tis the price o' his blood, woman !" he said,
with a heavy moan of mingled grief and indignation.
" 'Tis the price of his life, old man ! Were he
not now in yonder brigantine, the sands ere this
would have drunken his blood," she added, with
fierceness. " Hist ! ask not what I mean. What
I have said is true. I have sent him away to save
his life, and that there may be one less murder on
the earth. Go to thy hut and content thee with this
gold. 'Tis a friendly gift, old father. 'Twill save
thee from labour so long as thy life shall last. I
will come and gossip with thee o' evenings, and, hey !
sirs," she cried, skipping -on before him with fan
tastic gambols, as he placed his slender oars on his
shoulder, " won't we pass the time merrily ? I will
make fairies dance before thy door o' moonshiny
nights for thy entertainment; call the mermaids up
from the bottom o* the blue sea to sing thee to sleep
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 219
when thou art aweary ; and tell thee tales o' hob
goblins and spirits till the moon fades in the morn
ing. Oh, we will have times, father Meredith !"
" But will he come back, Elpsy, woman ?"
"The devil forbid !" she responded, half aloud.
" Ay, father ; thou wilt yet see him return a brave
sailor, and with piles o' wealth. Faith, sirs, I would
not wonder if he should build thee a castle with
his gold, and make a lord o' thee. Ha, ha, ha,
father Meredith ! thou wouldst make a proper
" He, he, he ! Elpsy, thou art pleasant. If the
lad's gone, I'll make the best o't till the saints
give him back in good time. Come to my hut and
break thy fast, avourneen ! He was ever o'er lofty,
and had notions above his class. He was unhap
py, the creature, because he was not equal with
the young Lord o' Castle More. Be-dad ! Elpsy,
honey, one would ha' thought he were of gentle
She started, and closely scrutinized the old fish
erman's face ; but, seeing nothing to confirm her
now constantly active suspicions, she said,
" He was above his birth, as you say, gossip !
The sea will be a school for him, and teach him
his place. He will make a better sailor than lord.
Ha, ha, ha ! will he not, father Meredith ?" and
she laughed coldly and sarcastically as she spoke.
" He was always a good sailor, Elpsy, woman !
Ne'er a ship came int' the Cove he went not up to
her main truck ; nor a craft lay becalmed i' the sight
o' the bay he went not aboard and through every
part o' her. He knew every rope in a ship as well
as an admiral, the crathur! Ah, woman, he could
do an officer's duty this day as well as the keptain
o' the yacht yonder. He seemed to take to a sea
man's life nat'rally, and it was ever discontented
220 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
he was in the skiff. He loved to talk o' big ships,
and foreign lands, battles by sea, and storms, and
shipwreck, and the likes o' them things ; arid, with
all his high notions, he ever loved a sailor betther
than a lord, and the sailors all liked him, the
" He is in his place, then, father Meredith,'*
said Elpsy, chiming in with the favourable train of
the old fisherman's garrulous praises of the youth.
" Thou wouldst not call him ashore now an thou
"Nay, I would not say that, Elpsy, woman.
Yet I begin to think the lad be best where he is.
Yet it will be a dark day to my soul when the ship
sails a-sea with him the light o' my eyes ! the
core o* my heart .' Och, hone ! Sad will be the day
to the soul o* me, Elpsy, woman ! Come in, cra^
thur, honey, an' take a bite o' the breakfast. It's
you it is that's the comfort o' my lone bosom now,
" No, no, I have much to do the mornin', old
man !" she said, turning from the door as the fish
erman, after standing his oars up beside it, placed
his hand upon the latch. " Take the gold freely ;.
it is thine !" she added, casting it through the win
dow upon the earthen floor of the cabin. " When
^he ship sails I will eat."
" Take a drap o' the dew, Elpsy, dear !" contin
ued the old man, the grief, which at his age is al
ways superficial, having, like a child's, been divert
ed for the time by the rattling gossip of the weird
" Elpsy will fast from all save water till the
masts of yonder yacht are shut from my sight by
^he meeting of sea and sky !"
She waved her hand with a lofty gesture as she
sp.oke, as if she sought to impress the fisherman
., THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 221
by her manner alone, and strode away from the
hut towards the path that led up to the castle.
Grace Fitzgerald, after communicating the re
sult of her interview with Mark, had left Kate to
her repose. But, with grief at her feud with Les
ter, and her lively anticipations of beholding him at
her feet, to be raised from that humble posture to
her forgiving embrace, her mind was too active for
rest, and sleep fled from her pillow, leaving it in the
sole possession of her ardent thoughts. With the
first blush of day, her face scarce less roseate than
the morning sky with the consciousness of her ob
ject, she rose and threw open her lattice, and turned
her face, with earnest expectation, towards the for
est-path which led northward towards Castle More.
From time to time she would lean far out of the
window, and, with eager ear, listen as if to catch
some distant sound. At length, with a look and
exclamation of disappointment, not undivested of a
slight shade of feminine pique, she closed the lat
tice and cast herself upon her pillow again, saying,
in a tone of wounded pride,
" I care not ! he is unworthy of a thought ! I
will forget him and try to sleep !"
She closed her eyelids, as if, at the same time,
she expected her fevered thoughts, like the flower
which folds its leaves together when the sun with
draws its light, would also shut themselves up and
leave her to repose. But she now thought more
vividly and acutely than before. It at length oc
curred to her that there might have been some de
lay on the part of the messenger. Perhaps Lester
had not yet got her pacquet, or had just received
it, and was now on his way to her !
" I will wait a little longer !" she said, unclosing
her eyes, and rising and going to the lattice.
CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
A long time she remained here, with her eyes
xed on the forest path, and her ears acutely set,
to catch the most distant sound of horses' feet.
*' He comes not yet !" she sighed, with deep dis
appointment. " Yet he may soon be here ! Hark ?
is not that his horse ? No, 'tis a deer bounding
along to the spring !"
At the moment a cool vein of wind from the sea
Chilled her, and, glancing at her dress as she drew
it together across her bosom, she discovered, what
she had hitherto been inattentive to, that she was in.
" And I dare say I should have run to meet him
as I am ! What a foolish child ! w she said, blush-
^ng with confusion and innocent shame. " 'Tis
fortunate he did not come before ! I will dress, and
fcy that time he may be here !"
Hope, hope, hope ! Star of woman's love ! In
thy celestial journeyings, thou dost never set on the
limitless empire of her affections. Her wide heart
^ias no horizon beneath which thou canst go down
&nd disappear. Patient, long suffering, ever hoping
to. the last, she steers by thee her' bark of love
through storrn and danger, faithfully and fearlessly,
never losing sight of thee till, from her expectant
eye, death steals the power of reflecting longer thy
When she had completed her toilet, and found
that there were still no indications of Lester's ap
proach, she became impatient, and, throwing a hood
and veil over her head, she left her chamber and has
tened below. For what purpose she hardly knew
impulse alone prompted her footsteps. She hasten
ed through the hall, and descended into ,the castle
yard, and directed her course towards the forest.
She had entered the .verge of its gloomy shades,
which the morning sun Jiad. scarcely yet driven out,
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 223
and was penetrating its depths, when she suddenly
"Where am 1 going? what am I doing?" she
exclaimed, as if her feet had been involuntarily
obeying her thoughts hitherto, and she for the first
time had discerned that she was really doing what
she supposed she was only thinking of doing. Such
absent reveries are peculiar to young persons in
" Am I really going to meet him ? I did not
know that I did love Lester so. But he would scorn
me to find me here I will hasten back as I came
though I scarce have any consciousness how that
was ! What a simple creature I have made of my
self. I am afraid of my own ridicule. Oh love,
love, you do play the mischief with maiden's hearts
when once you get into them !" she said, sportively,
yet ending her words with a deep sigh.
Turning back, she retraced her steps slowly to
wards the castle. As she approached it, her eyes
were attracted by the pavilions, which still remained
standing, and, bending her steps towards the lawn,
she entered that which had been the scene of the
yesterday's festival. No signs of the banquet re
mained all, save the curtains of the tent, and one
or two rustic sofas within it, were removed. She
seated herself on one of these, and raising the north
side of the tent-hangings by one of the silken cords
attached to them, was enabled, without being seen,
to command the avenue to the forest. With her
person bent a little forward, and holding her hand
kerchief in her hand, as if prepared to wave it at
an instant's notice, she sat watching in the direction
in which she expected Lester to appear.
" I will meet him here," she said ; " I would not
have even cousin Grace, good as she is, to witness
our interview of reconciliation. Oh, why does he
224 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
linger so ! Well, Robert, I have been taught a les
son in a knowledge of my own heart by this ; and,
let us but meet in peace once more, I will bear much
ere I will make either you or myself so miserable
She sighed deeply as she spoke, and a glittering
tear, like a drop of dew shaken from a spray, fell
upon her hand.
"Surely he cannot love me, to linger so!" she
said, dropping her aching eyes, which had long kept
watch on the distant path.
" Proud maiden, thou hast spoken truly ! he loves
thee not !"
Kate turned in alarm as the stern, harsh voice
that spoke these words sounded close to her ear,
and beheld the weird woman.
" Elpsy !" she cried, rising and speaking between
terror and surprise.
" The witch Elpsy, lady," added the sorceress,
" What would you, woman ?"
'" How mean you ?" exclaimed the maiden, shrink
ing involuntarily back.
"Fear me not, lady !" she said, slowly and with
mysterious emphasis, as she gazed on the face of
the fair girl, her eyes gloating with a diabolical
light ; " I would not harm thy body, while I hold
the key to thy soul."
"Fearful woman, if woman, or even human, thou
art, what terrible meaning lies hidden beneath your
" Thou lovest Robert of Lester ?"
"Elpsy, I will not be questioned. Leave me,"
said Kate, her brow glowing between maidenly
shame and anger.
But Elpsy, without heeding her command or
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 225
seeming to observe her emotion, said, with the sar
donic quiet that malice can put on when it would
"Thou didst despatch a messenger to Castle
More the last night, lady ?"
" How knowest thou this ?" she demanded, eva
sively, startled at her knowledge of what she be
lieved known only to the parties immediately in
" Is there aught, daughter of the house of Bel-
lamont, that happens among mortals," she said, in
the elevated tone of mystery and supernatural
power she was wont to assume at such times,
"that Elpsy the sorceress is ignorant of?"
" I know thou art a dread and fearful woman,"
said Kate, with a thrill of aversion, " and have
power to do evil, which, rather than good, I have
heard it is thy delight to do."
" Ha, ha ! thou hast well spoken," she responded,
with a chuckling laugh, that caused the maiden,
with all her firmness, to shudder and start back to
the extremity of the pavilion.
" You fear me. Well, it is what I would have.
Ho ! 'Tis pleasant to be feared by the lovely and the
pure by the strong and the mighty ; to be sought
out by the noble, and have the homage of the low f
Oh, it's a brave thing, this holding sway over the
minds of mortals. Kings may govern their bodies
we hold the empire of their souls ! Ha, ha ! So
you fear me, trembler ?"
"An angel would tremble before thee, guilty
" Ha, ha ! I know; it. Thou hast spoken it. It
is the reward held but to us that we shall one day
master the good spirits."
" And how ? Alone by the power of darkness
and of sin ! You conquer through fear, not by
226 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
strength. Therefore it is that good spirits dare not
enter the abodes of the prince of evil. Woman,
thou art fearful ; thy spells sinful ; thy soul lost for
ever !" she cried, with virtuous horror united to the
natural enthusiasm of her character.
" Soul !" repeated the sorceress, with a writhing
lip of derision ; " soul .'"
" Hast thou no soul, woman, in the name of God !"
exclaimed the maiden, appalled by the emphasis
she laid on the word as she repeated it a second
The sorceress gazed on her a moment fixedly ere
she replied, and then advancing a pace towards her,
" Yes !"
" Woman," 'continued Kate, with solemn earnest
ness, turning pale at the manner in which she pro
nounced this monosyllable, " I know thou art wick
ed and full of evil ; but thou canst not have bartered
thy eternal life ? have made compact with Sathan-
as, at the hazard of thy salvation ?"
Elpsy was moved with surprise by the energy
with which she was addressed, and, banishing her
derisive smile, answered in a more natural tone,
" By compact no, lady ! none save but with my
own nature ; even as all who are mortal do barter
away their souls when they obey the devil within.
I have served him in the shape of evil passions till
his I am, soul and body !"
" Say not so, Elpsy," said Kate, touched with
pity by the sullen despair and abandonment of her
manner, although in it not a shade of remorse or
penitence was apparent even to her charitable gaze ;
"if you have sinned, there is forgiveness to be had
of Heaven ! It is not too late to secure your soul's
future happiness. I know there is much that is
kind and humane in you when you are not gored
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 227
by insults, or under the influence of angry emotions.
Abandon your course of life ; seek forgiveness of
Him who died for the chiefest of sinners. I pity
The sorceress hung her head upon her breast in
silence : her bosom heaved with inward struggles ;
her harsh features became convulsed, and the maid
en thought she saw a tear fall from her eyes to the
ground. Encouraged by these signs of good, she
added, approaching her in a kindly manner,
" Cast off this assumed character, if, as I sin
cerely trust, it is not irrevocably made thine own
by thy soul's price. I will furnish for thee a neat
cottage not far from Cormac, the forester's, and
thou shall have the comforts about thee thy old
age craves. Do not despair of forgiveness, Elpsy.
God is merciful, and will meet thee in kindness
more than half the way if "
" Angel ! fiend ! mock me not !" shrieked the
woman, suddenly lifting her face furrowed with
tears, gnashing her glittering teeth, her eyes flash
ing, her clinched hands shaking with nervous ex
citement, and her whole bearing that of a pythoness
enraged and fear-stricken. " There is no God no
heaven for me ! Yes, I am bought, body and soul !
Talk not to me of your Christ ! For a moment
I was carried back to childhood as you spoke,"
she continued, with a sudden change of manner;
" for I have been once innocent as thyself. But 'tis
past !" she cried, fiercely. " Your words can move
me no more ! They have pressed out the last drop
of moisture that remained in my heart ! I am
adamant now hard hard hard as iron ! Ha, ha,
ha ! Elpsy a Christian ! Accursed be the name !"
Kate Bellamont, at this sudden and terrific out
break from one whom she believed had been soft
ened by her words, retreated from the vehemence
228 CAPTAIN KYD; OR>
of her language and the savage wildness of her
manner, with the look and attitude of one who
suddenly beholds the lion which he has tamed
start suddenly from his playful embrace, and as
sume all at once the savage ferocity of his nature.
She was astonished beyond expression by this un
expected ebullition of feeling, and her mind was ap
palled both by her terrible language and the new
ground she had assumed.
" Elpsy, stand from the door and let me pass !"
she said, with firmness, yet trembling through every
fibre of her body, as Elpsy, after speaking, contin
ued to gaze on her in gloomy silence, and with a
lowering and menacing aspect.
" Nay," said the sorceress, placing herself full in
the way, and speaking with more mildness even
than was usual to her, " 1 have news that concerns
" Me F
" None else."
Of what ?"
" The young Lord of Lester."
" What of him ? Thy looks thy language
that fearful smile !"
" Dost love him F
"It matters not to thee t Speak what thou hast
to say, and quickly," she cried, with an indefinable
foreboding of evil.
" Thou dost, maiden. It is written in every lin
eament ; speaks in every action yea, Robert of
Lester is thy second self. Ha, ha, ha! Did I
not say I held the key to thy soul ay, and I can
unlock it, too !"
Having, in the first heat of her vengeance at find*
ing herself defeated by the course taken by Les
ter, resolved to divulge to Kate Bellamont the se
cret of his birth that she might triumph in her hu-
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 229
mility and wretchedness, Elpsy's fertile mind soon
taught her how best to effect her malicious, and,
save its wickedness, aimless purpose. She now,
therefore, in a tone of assumed carelessness, added,
" But thou lovest him because he is noble like
thyself ! Were he lowly in name and humble in
birth, thou wouldst scorn him," she added, with the
manner of one who is trying the moral pulse of
her victim : " this is ever the way with the high
" Were he lower born than the hind who herds
my father's kine, he would still be Lester, and no
ble to me !" she said, with a spirit that became her
lofty beauty and devoted love.
" This will never do," muttered Elpsy, thought
fully, intent on her cruel design, and forgetful of,
and insensible to, the gratitude due to the maiden
for the kindly interest she had so recently ex
pressed in her welfare ; in repayment of which,
with all the maliciousness of a demon, she was
now taxing her ingenuity to dash from her lips the
cup of happiness which young love had offered to
" Were he a cowherd, he would have a cow
herd's common soul, maiden !"
" Being common he then could not be Lester.
But being Lester, though a swineherd, that inhe
rent nobleness, that is the birthright of his nature,
would shine out through his mean garb and call
ing, and make him still, to my eyes, the Lester I
" Were he a slave a serf ay, chained to a gal
ley, wouldst thou love him still ?"
" If misfortune, and not crime, brought him to
this degradation then should I not love him less,
but love him more !"
"If 'twere crime?"
VOL. I. U
230 CA.PTAIN KYD; OR,
" Couple it not with his name, woman," she said,
with flashing eyes. " But why this dark and subtle
questioning ? Speak, I command thee !"
" Thou hast no power to command me I no
will to obey. I will probe her yet deeper !" she
muttered. " If, maiden, there were a stain upon
" Well " she quickly interrupted, with painful
eagerness visible in every lineament of her beau
tiful countenance : for her feelings were highly
wrought up, and, excited to expectation of some
thing evil by the manner of her interrogator, she
was all nerves and on the rack of torturing sus
pense. " Well speak, prithee, woman ! Why
do you pause ?"
" If 'twere proven he were a a "
" A nay, 'twill wound thy ears !"
" Speak I fear not for I know thou canst lay
no crime to his charge !"
" A bastard!" she said, laying a deliberate stress
upon each syllable.
" Evil woman ! away ! Leave me !"
" It may be proved that he is not only this,
" Away ! Oh that I should listen to thy foul
and slanderous speech."
" Low-born /"
" In the name of Heaven, woman, cease ! and
give me way out, or I will alarm the castle, and
have thee punished for this insolence !"
As the indignant girl spoke she prepared to pass
her, when the woman laid her hand firmly on her
wrist and detained her, while she said, in a serious
and imperious manner,
" Maiden, hear me ! I am not mocking thee !
What if I can prove him to thee to be a lowborn
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 231
bastard the son of a peasant-girl, and palmed on
Lady Lester as her own ?"
" Thou canst do no such thing with all thy wick
ed arts to aid thee," scornfully replied the maiden.
" What if I could do it ! Wouldst love him,
" The bastard ?"
"Yes, I tell thee."
" The son of a lowborn peasant ?"
" He would still be Lester to me, so long as
honour and truth were the habitants of his bosom."
" Wouldst thou love him then ?"
" Better and better for each misfortune he brought
not on himself."
" Or serf or galley-slave or peasant or bas
tard, he would still be Lester in the eyes of thy
" Yes ! Stand aside, and let me pass forth."
" One word more, fair virgin. I must try," con
tinued she to herself, "my last card now. Her
love outwits my invention. 'Tis a shield that turns
aside all my shafts. I think I now know her weak
ness, and so will put it to trial. Suppose," she
asked, in an indifferent tone, "this Robert of Lester
should take offence at thee "
" Well " she said, with interest.
" And should ride from thee in anger "
" Proceed prithee "
" And, being too proud to atone, lets his pride
grow till it beget hatred and scorn of thee "
" And so, from wounded love and rage, he for
swears his noble name, and leagues himself with
pirates ; and, out of revenge to thee, goes forth to
slay, and deluge the earth with blood and rapine !"
" Have you done ?" she asked, in a tone of dis-
232 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
dain for what she deemed the idle words of the
" I have," she answered, with a peculiar smile,
that troubled and perplexed her. " But I would
ask thee wouldst love him then ?"
" I will answer thee if such things could be,
which ne'er can be No. In this case, guilt would
place for ever an impassable gulf between us.
But, as thou hast so much interest in him, let me
pass that I may meet him, for I hear his horse's
feet in the forest," she said, with the contempt of
incredulity, yet trembling so well the supposed
case advanced by Elpsy tallied with the circum
stances under which Lester left her lest there
might be some dreadful truth at the bottom.
" His horse's feet thou wilt never hear more.
Himself thou wilt never see more, save to thy
" Explain, woman," she almost shrieked, grasp
ing her by the shoulders, and speaking with wild
" Robert of Lester has become even as I have
spoken. Maddened by thy coldness his pride
stung his self-love wounded his feelings lacer
ated, he has fled his home, and leagued himself
" In the name of the blessed Heaven above, do
you speak but a tithe of the truth, woman ?" she
demanded, with fearful emotion.
" He galloped to the seaside, and a Danish buc-
anier being by chance in shore, he threw himself on
board, and put to sea with her."
" One word, only one word more ! You saw
" I did, and came hither to tell thee."
" Would to God I knew if thou didst tell the
truth or no," she cried, almost sinking upon the
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 233
" Behold this token which he gave me, bidding
me return it to the giver, who, he said mark the
words, maiden ! was henceforth only worthy the
scorn and contempt of the noble heart she had
broken," spoke the false witch, taking, as if struck
by a sudden thought, the locket and message from
her bosom and placing it in her hands.
" It is too true. Merciful Heaven, sustain me !
Nay ! Elpsy, touch me not. I shall not fall. No,
I will not fall ! If if he can scorn me I nay
do not support me my pride will will oh
Lester, Lester you have killed me !"
With a deep moan, as if her heart were bursting,
she fell into the arms of the sorceress, who, not
wholly unmoved by the wretchedness she had
caused, placed her on one of the settees, and, with
a look of triumph, gazed on her pale cheek, and
watched the irregular and long-drawn heaving of her
bosom. Her success had been complete, and she
experienced a joy kindred to that of a fiend's when
he beholds the fall of a good man. She had made
the happy miserable, and was content ! She had
wounded the pride of the noble, and was satisfied.
She had been the bearer of guilt to innocence, and
her task was accomplished !
After surveying for a few moments the lovely
victim of her malice and of her hatred of the high
born, which seemed to be placed deeper than any
other feeling in her bosom, she drew from her bo
som a small vial, and, removing the stopper, stooped
over her and moistened her lips and nostrils. The
volatile essence of the evaporating fluid was in
stantly inhaled, and produced a reviving effect.
The colour returned to her cheek, and, opening her
eyes, she fixed on the sorceress a wild gaze.
" It is not all a dream, then !" she cried, putting-
back her hair from her forehead and staring at
CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
her ; " she is there ! Lester ! is he is he oh
I cannot speak what I would I remember ah !
I remember all. She told me so ! Woman !" she
all at once shrieked, " is thy tale false or true ?
Say it is not true," she added, rising and holding
her by the cloak, " and I will fall down and kiss
A triumphant light gleamed in the ruthless eyes
of the sorceress. " Thou art humbled by grief,"
she said, with torturing coolness. " It is a pleas
ant thing to see the proud and high come down.
Oh, if I had been noble too, as well as fair, in my
youth, I had been a bride instead of but I will
not wound thine ears, maiden, with a word thou
canst never know the meaning of. It is only for
the lowborn virgin to be taught it by some high
born youth. What I have told thee is true. Rob
ert of Lester has leagued himself with pirates.
One day I may tell thee more of him."
" Hist !" she whispered, hoarsely. " I will hear
no more of him. He is nothing now to Catharine
of Bellamont. Hark, there is the sound of horses'
feet ! He comes ! False one, he is here !" she
cried, darting forward to the door of the pavilion.
Elpsy smiled grimly and followed her.
The sound of horsemen approaching was now
distinctly heard, but it was the noise of many horses
advancing at speed. In a few seconds they be
held emerge from the forest, not the form of Les
ter, but that of the Earl of Bellamont, attended by
three or four mounted servants.
" Has Elpsy spoken the truth, maiden ?" asked
the sorceress, her eyes gleaming with the unpleas-
ing smile habitual to her, when she observed Kate
to turn her face away in disappointment.
" Torture me not, evil woman ; thy words,
whether false or true, have almost broken my
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 235
At this instant the earl caught sight of his daugh
ter, and, turning aside from the avenue, galloped
across the lawn towards the pavilion. He was a
gentleman of noble presence, with a dark, intel
ligent face, and dignified features. The resem
blance between himself and daughter was instantly
apparent. He rode with grace, and displayed ad
mirable horsemanship in the management of his
"A kiss, rny sweet child," he said, as he threw
himself from his horse beside her. " You are
abroad early ! What, in tears ? I have not been
absent three days, and yet you welcome me, Kate,
with as much emotion as if I had but returned from
India. Nay, then, weep on my breast, silly one,
if you will. What, Elpsy here too !" he exclaimed,
now for the first time seeing the witch standing
within the door of the pavilion " I see it all. She
has been alarming you with some evil foretellings !
Woman, have I not forbidden thee to harbour or
appear on the domains of Castle Cor ? Moral
blight and misfare follow thy footsteps as surely as
does pestilence the path of the baleful dogstar.
" I have done mine errand, proud earl, and there
fore will go but not at thy bidding I depart," she
added, gathering her scarlet cloak about her hideous
" I care not if it be at the devil's as it is most
like to be so I see thee no more ! Cease, my
dove, that moan. Her charms are sand her
words false her prophecies the wildest dreams !
Heed them not, if, as I suspect, she has filled thy
tender ears with them."
" Thou lovest thy daughter, earl ?" she said,
interrogatively, as she prepared to depart.
" Too well to see her made miserable, vile sor
236 CAPTAIN KYD; OR,
" See, then, thou do not make her so."
" How mean you ?" he demanded.
" Beware of a black plume /" she added, mys
" Explain your meaning, woman !" he said,
struck by her manner and the menacing tones in
which she gave him this prophetic warning.
The sorceress made no reply ; but, turning her
face towards the path that led to the seashore, she
rapidly traversed the lawn, and, waving her hand
warningly, disappeared down the path leading to
The cause to which her father attributed her
sudden and unwonted grief greatly relieved Kate;
and by allowing him, through her silence, to retain
the impression he had formed, she was saved the
embarrassment of making him a confidant of her
wounded affections by unfolding to him the true
cause a task, in her present state of mind, impos
sible for her to perform, and one which, at any
time, would have been a sad trial to her maidenly
sensitiveness. In a few moments she became
more composed : the tide of her affections, which
had been forced back upon the fountain-head, hav
ing found a channel in paternal love through which
to flow, if not in the same direction as before, yet
nearly in as deep and strong a current.
She accompanied him to the castle, and for the
remainder of the morning was so occupied in for
warding the preparations for his departure and that
of her cousin, that she had little time to devote to
her own peculiar sorrows, leaving them for the
lonely hours that would find her, after they were
gone, in the solitary chamber, mourning over her
crushed and blighted love. Yet a faint ray of the
light of hope shone through the darkness of her
heart, and the faintly-cherished belief that the tale
THE WIZARD OF THE SEA. 237
of the sorceress might be false kept her from aban
doning herself to that hopelessness of grief, shame
and utter wretchedness into which she would have
sunk had the truth been made manifest to her, di
vested of every shadow of doubt.
END OP VOL. I.
L 006 670 134 3
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